Pipe bursts, flooding Ragsdale

Jones Auditorium was submerged in water on Monday night.

Tommy CollinsTristan Hallman

A water line burst on Monday, flooding Robert and Pearle Ragsdale Center, including Jones Auditorium, and forcing the power to be shut off in the entire building.

“A chilled water line in the mechanical room broke and flooded the room sometime last night,” Mike Stone, director of auxiliary services said Tuesday. “Water rose and shorted out the electrical system in the building.”

The burst line feeds chilled water to the air conditioning units for both the Ragsdale building and Fondren Hall, said Michael Peterson, director of Physical Plant. About a foot of water flooded the mechanical room in the basement of Ragsdale.

As a result, the motors that pump the chilled water were submerged, and they need to dry out before they can be tested. If they are not full of debris and mud, then things should  be back to normal. If they are damaged, then other repairs will need to take place.

The burst pipe has already been replaced, Peterson said, but it will not be safe to run water through until 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday when the glue has dried.

Physical plant is now working to dry out the mechanical room. The floor in the mechanical room is covered in mud.

“Right now we’re just working through it,” Peterson said.

Stone estimated that the water rose anywhere from 2-4 inches in Jones Auditorium. The water overflowed from the mechanical room into the Jones lobby and into the auditorium.

The auditorium carpet, which was soaked by the flooding, had just been replaced this past summer.

The report of the flooding came from a student at about 6 p.m., Lt. Dan Beck said. An officer responded and notified the Physical Plant.

Although some of the lights are back on in the buildings, Ragsdale Center and the campus bookstore and the QuickDip in Fondren Hall will be closed indefinitely.

“Our main concern is making sure its dry enough to be safe,” Stone said.

In response, Bon Appetit has moved all of their food services to their Hunt Hall location. All refrigerated and frozen goods had to be moved on Monday night. Bon Appetit was going to host its “Eat Local Challenge” on Tuesday in the South Congress Market in Ragsdale.

The flooding comes a week after several rooms in the Main Building were damaged in a separate flooding incident. In that incident, a clapper valve in the sprinkler system broke, flooding Room 105, the Advancement office, the Student Financial Services office, and some carpeting in the campus post office.

“We ought to just cancel Mondays,” Peterson said.