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Leaky buildings damage offices, rooms

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by Amby Sarabia
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne maintenance workers were on their feet last week as rainstorms caused many rooms across campus to flood. Employees on campus are still dealing with the aftermath.

The heavy rain, which began the week of Feb. 10, proved to be too much for many roofs and walls on campus, as buildings experienced leaks and flooding.

“When you have more than 50 roofs on a campus, that tends to happen,” said Brian Worley, the director of facilities management.

The Student Center, Founders Hall, Miller Hall, Mainiero Building, the Arts and Communication Building and the Oaks were all effected by the heavy rain, Worley said.

He said that clogged drains caused the leaks. While maintenance staff routinely ensured that all drains were clear, the rainstorm caused debris to surface and clog the drains, causing the water to overflow and seep into the buildings through cracks in the walls.

Founders Hall experienced this problem first hand in room 212 where lab consultants monitor all the computer labs on campus via television monitors.

“The heavy rain was problematic,” said Clive Houston-Brown, chief information officer.

“(The roofs) were built for light drizzle,” Houston-Brown said.

When rain started to leak through the ceiling, staff responded quickly by setting up trash cans to catch the water.

Their fast thinking helped to minimize the possibility of damage, Houston-Brown said.

Luckily, the streams of water narrowly missed the television monitors.

The carpet, along with a few ceiling tiles were not as fortunate as they received the most damage, he said.

“It’s during heavy rain when you’re able to see where things are lacking,” Worley said.

Maintenance was called to inspect the problem and unclog the main drain.

“After that the problem was over,” Worley said.

House keeping was later sent to vacuum and dehumidify the carpet in the hope to rid the carpet of the strong smell of mildew.

The Arts and Communications Building also experienced problems during the rainfall. Currently, the entire bottom floor is littered with carpet extracted from the LVTV room.

The carpets will be returned to the room once they have dried, Rodrigues said.

The flooding of the LVTV room was caused by water seeping under the carpet, eventually causing the room to flood, said Shane Rodrigues, radio/tv operations manager.

Many other rooms in ACB like LVTV, KULV’s studio A, the equipment room, library, Campus Times, Rodrigues’ office and the KULV radio studio also experienced leaks.

An acoustic panel in the KULV studio was the only piece of equipment damaged, Rodrigues said.

Professor of Communications Michael Laponis experienced a small flood in his office located in the ACB.

“(Ever) since I’ve been in this building, whenever it rains it leaks in through the interior wall and seeps into my office,” Laponis said.

However, Laponis said this time he was prepared for the leaks.

The electrical wires were lifted from the floor, and some items were placed on a milk crate under his desk, narrowing the risk of electrocution.

The small flood caused an uncomfortable working condition for Laponis.

Despite the nauseating smell of mildew and the puddle surrounding his desk, Laponis tried to find the lighter side of the situation by giving the cracks in his wall a name ­ “the weeping wall,” he said.

Maintenance was called in to vacuum the carpet in all the rooms that experienced leaks.

But, LVTV faculty will be unable to work in the LVTV room until the carpets have been dried to prevent mildew stains and mold-related illness.

Although major items of equipment were not harmed, maintenance said these situations will continue to occur every time it rains.

This is because there was only so much they could do. There was only a limited budget, maintenance said.

Unclogging the drains and patching the appropriate areas will not be enough to improve other problem areas, Worley said.

“The biggest problem is the Student Center,” Worley said. “We’re trying to budget the money to fix it, but it costs a lot of money.”

The entire east side of Miller Hall will be water proofed to ensure no water will get into the building, he said.

Maintenance will continue to do the best they can to fix each problem they encounter until the budget has been readjusted to provide the amount of funds needed to fix the major problems, Worley said.

“The staff routinely checks the condition of the drains on the roofs,” Worley said. “So the campus had fewer leaks then there might have been.”

The Facilities Department is waiting for the Business and Finance Department to approve the amount of funding needed.

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