Union clean up after sprinkler line breaks

After a sprinkler line broke in the union, the entry way to the Bearcat Commons was flooded and both first and second floor dining options were closed. Staff worked quickly to clean up the water and reopen all dining options. 

A sprinkler line burst on the first floor of the J.W. Jones Student Union at 4:05 p.m. Friday.

When students arrived for an early dinner, they were met with a small group standing outside of the union, watching staff push water outside with squeegees and running vacuums to clean it up. When students went around the building to the second floor, they found dining upstairs was also closed.

Vice President of Student Affairs Matt Baker said the pipe burst because of the extreme temperature changes throughout the week.

“One of the sprinkler systems froze, and then either during the thaw or the freezing, the water expanded and broke the sprinkler pipe,” Baker said. “When we have extreme cold like we have over the past couple of weeks, this is just part of a building like that.”

The entrance to Bearcat Commons was flooded, but the main dining area was unaffected. All dining in the union was closed while the water was shut off.

Baker said the incident could not have been prevented as the heaters couldn’t counter the extreme cold.

“We go through every semester and make sure the heaters work--there’s heaters in the vestibule where the pipe broke--the heaters are working,” Baker said. “It’s just sometimes it’s just so cold, and those doors are open and shut thousands of times a day, sometimes that extreme cold just infiltrates.”

Around 4:22 p.m., staff began making repairs to the pipe and cleaning up the water. All dining reopened around 4:30 p.m., but staff advised students to use the second floor entrance to the union while repairs are made.


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