The recent extreme weather has caused significant damage to buildings on campus and has mandated Hamilton Central School District make scheduling changes.
Trudy Fitness Center sustained flooding January 24 and was subsequently closed for the day to allow for repairs. Wynn Hall also suffered from a break in the waterline.
According to Associate Director of Facilities Joe Bello, the pipes froze due to the severe single-digit weather, which consequently caused floods in both Trudy and Wynn when the pipes burst.
“Right now we’re waiting for the engineers’ field report to find out how possibly the cold infiltrated the building,” Bello said. “We do not have a cause as of yet of where and how the conditions of the freezing permeated the building envelope.”
The flooding in Wynn affected numerous floors, including one of the labs and faculty offices. Trudy, however, only suffered damage to the lower level.
“If it were on the upper floor, with all the electronic equipment and exercise equipment up there, we could have sustained serious damage,” Bello said. “So I think with Trudy, it could have been much worse than it was.”
Bello explained that extreme weather and wind chill typically cause problems with weak piping to come to fruition. Piping issues are prevalent because Colgate has a lot of underground infrastructure, which the frost affects when it drives deep enough into the ground.”We’ve restored the plumbing in insulated areas that we thought were suspicious to try to mitigate the problem … We’re taking all the necessary precautions we can without knowing the true cause of the event,” Bello said.
Additionally, contractors are currently repairing the drywall and paint job in Wynn and Trudy. Wynn is expected to be completely restored some time next week.
Trudy and Wynn have never sustained damages before. Trudy opened in January 2012 and Wynn was renovated in 2011.
“These are unexpected situations that were out of our control,” Bello said.
The recent extreme weather also affected the Hamilton Central School District, which closed on January 28 and had delayed openings on January 29 and February 1.
“This week has been very different from the rest of the winter … We’ve actually had a very quiet winter so far,” Hamilton Central School District Superintendent Diana Bowers said.
The two-hour delay on January 29 was necessary because there was not enough time for the salt and sand to reach the roads before the buses started running at 6:30 a.m..
According to Bowers, there are many steps in the process of qualifying whether school should be closed including checking the radar to determine the current and future precipitation, communicating with local superintendents and gauging the safety of the roads.
Subsequently, Bowers calls the families and teachers within the district to inform them of the closing or delay, and the principals distribute the news to the local radio and television stations.
Hamilton Central School District has five days in the calendar reserved for weather-related closings.
“We usually stay within the five days. We haven’t even had to cut into vacation days in the past … Last year we actually ended the winter with two unused snow days.”
The weather-related closings in the Hamilton Central School District have implications for Colgate staff and faculty.
“A good percentage of our families have some relationship to Colgate,” Bowers said. “The parents usually have a plan B. I would imagine there are times that they would have to kind of find a solution to the problem relatively quickly, but I think most parents have a schedule or a place that if they need to get to work they can send the kids.”
In many cases, Colgate professors have found the recent weather to be troublesome to their plans.
“The Hamilton and Colgate school calendars don’t line up on anything let alone weather … There’s no daycare in town so in many, many ways it’s incredibly disruptive,” Associate Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies Lesleigh Cushing said.
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