By Grace Apostol
On the morning of Monday, Oct. 31, a campus-wide email sent by staffer of the registrar, Patricia J Seunarinen, stated that “there will be no in-person instruction for the rest of the day in Goldstein Hall.”
According to the email, there was a septic issue which caused flooding in the first floor of Goldstein.
“…‘Buildings and Grounds’ needs to get in there to mitigate the problem,” the email said. During the time of the flooding, students, faculty, and staff were evacuated from the building. Part of this evacuation group was Writing Center Director Rachel Rodriguez initially saw the flooding in the morning of Oct. 31.
“I noticed the flooding in the entryway of Goldstein around 9:20 a.m.,” she said. “At that point it was a large puddle of water outside of the large lecture hall. I quickly put up a caution sign and was about to call maintenance, but maintenance was already there assessing the problem and deciding what course of action to take. It was less than an hour later that the building closed for the day.”
Following the closure of the building, the instruction of the Writing Center was moved to the Library, whereas classes normally held in Golstein moved to Zoom for the day or into other buildings with open classrooms.
“The Writing Center moved its operations to the first floor of Miller library, and the librarians were so helpful and accommodating,” Rodrigues said. “While it was certainly an unexpected way to spend the day, everyone seemed to rally and operations are back to normal.”
Senior Avery-Grey Dos Santos was present in the building when the flooding was apparent and said this situation was preventable.
“I think it’s just unacceptable that it has been allowed to get to this point,” they said.
Following the initial email, Buildings and Grounds went into Goldstein to assess the problem.
“We brought in a drain clearing company and they assessed the problem and determined they could provide a temporary fix but further action was required,” Director of Facilities Stan Yeakel said. “By filming the line, the drain company was able to see that there were roots from a nearby tree that had gotten into the line.”
According to Yeakel, on Nov. 1, the day after the intial flooding, a utility contractor was brought in and “exposed the line, identified the problem area, and made the appropriate repair.”
If other incidents in the future ensue, Buildings and Grounds will follow protocol to fix the issues.
“The protocol for future incidents of this type would be much the same as we did here,” Yeakel said. “We are also going to get proposals to run cameras down our main sanitary lines on campus to determine if other potential areas of concern along these lines exist.”
Yeakel also wanted to thank the community for their quick responses to the dilemna.
“Thank you to the Faculty, Staff and Students who quickly pivoted to online classes to allow us to do this repair work in the shortest time span possible,” he said.
Photo by Katie Tack
Photo Caption: Goldstein Hall was closed on Halloween when a significant sewage leak in the building was announced to the Washington College campus via email.