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Park-Stradley water main break cost Ohio State $3M

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

The water main break that displaced roughly 2,000 dorm residents in September has cost Ohio State about $3 million.

“While this does include a significant amount of the cost for clean-up, debris removal, repair of the water line and other equipment repairs, it is not a final estimate,” said Lindsay Komlanc, OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman. “The university has continued to work through our insurance carriers to recover these costs.”

The cause of the break is still not known. OSU hired engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. to perform the investigation beginning in September.

The break occurred in a 10-inch water main in a utility tunnel underneath College Road, near Drinko and Steeb halls. Water from the break flooded the sub-basement of Park-Stradley Hall, triggering an alarm around 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 16.

More than 2,000 students were evacuated from Park-Stradley and Baker East and West halls. Students spent the night wherever they could, with around 150 students spending the night in the RPAC.

Baker East and West were reopened early the next morning, but Park-Stradley remained partially closed. Students could retrieve personal items and essentials on Monday and Tuesday, but were still forced to find alternate accommodations.

The Office of Student Life offered housing to displaced students. Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said in September that students would be placed in “various university residence locations … based on availability.”

Park-Stradley students were not allowed to permanently return to their residence hall until around 5 p.m. on Sept. 19.

“It was water damage in the mechanical rooms that delayed the return of students to the residence hall,” Komlanc told The Lantern in a December email. “The water damage impacted electrical and heating/cooling infrastructure, including electrical switch gear and heating (and) cooling equipment.”

Necessary repairs were completed on Sept. 18, and state inspections were completed in the afternoon of Sept. 19. Vice president for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston sent an email to Park-Stradley residents at about 5 p.m. that day informing them that they were allowed to return to their dorm.

However, returning students did not have drinkable cold water or hot water until Sept. 21.

Park-Stradley opened Fall Semester after being closed for a year as part of a $171 million South Campus renovation project. The building was occupied for about a month before the water main break.

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