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Park-Stradley water main break costs Ohio State $3 million

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

Park-Stradley Hall had been open for about a month before the $3 million water main break lead to an evacuation, and the cost has some students wondering why all the kinks weren’t worked out.
“It’s a lot of money, and it’s a new dorm,” said Ashley Bauer, a second-year in international studies and Park-Stradley resident. “You think they would’ve had everything worked out.”
Park-Stradley, built as Park and Stradley Halls in 1959, was renovated and reopened for Fall Semester 2012 as part of a more than $171 million South Campus renovation project. The water main break came less than a month after students moved in.
The cost of the September water main break affecting Park-Stradley and Baker halls is not a final estimate.
“While (the $3 million figure) 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.”
OSU hired engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., in September to investigate the cause of the water main break, but it remains unknown.
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, the floor beneath the main basement, of Park-Stradley. The flooding triggered an alarm at about 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 about 150 students spending the night in the RPAC.
Baker East and West were reopened to residents at about 7 a.m. the next day, but Park-Stradley remained partially closed to students. Students could retrieve personal items and essentials on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 but were still forced to find alternate accommodations.
The Office of Student Life offered housing to displaced students. Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said students would be placed in “various university residence locations … based on availability.”
Park-Stradley students were not allowed to return to their dorm except to collect essentials until about 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. informing them that they were allowed to return to their dorm.
Returning students did not have drinkable cold water or hot water until the afternoon of Sept. 21.

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