Sewage water flooded the first floor of Life Hall, filling the air with a foul smell. It was the same day as an audition for prospective students, ruining the event.
A sewer line that was backed up broke, causing the Theater and Dance Offices, the Production Office, the Costume Shop and classrooms on the lower level to be filled with contaminated water. No campus alert was sent regarding this incident.
At 7:45 a.m. on Feb. 5, Mary Guerriero and Megan Gwozdz entered Life Hall and smelled a strong stench. As they got closer, they saw a current of the sewage water.
“It was really gross, when we first walked in it was gag-worthy,” Guerriero said.
Within hours, the flood rose significantly throughout the building.
“After a couple hours, we looked down the steps and it was a complete flood,” Gwozdz said. “Everyone had their rain boots on. The facility staff was on it.”
Maintenance from the university rushed to the scene in rubber boots and plastic gloves, trying to contain the situation. They were able to block one of the areas in the building before the water came in.
The classrooms and offices on the lower level had to be relocated to the second floor of Life Hall and to rooms in Finley Hall. The lower level bathrooms are not to be used until they are deemed safe. They have been cleaning and bleaching the lower level hallways.
Students were warned through an email from professor Lorraine Katterhenry to not go downstairs.
“Please do not use the bathrooms downstairs or even go downstairs until we are cleared,” Katterhenry said. “[Students] can go to the vending machine but please wear shoes.”
Chairperson of Theater and Dance, Randy Mugleston, is aware the Costume Shop is currently deemed hazardous with many costumes being soiled from the sewage water.
“We’re trying to avoid touching contaminated garments,” Mugleston said.
According to Mugleston, last week a specialist came in and took samples, but the results have not come back yet.
“There’s someone testing the affected areas,” Mugleston said. “We’re waiting for those tests to come back to see whether we can occupy the spaces.”
Costume Shop Supervisor Judith Evans explained that Life Hall is working with the university to make sure everything is clean and safe for students and faculty.
The flood was confined to the floor, the costumes hanging above were left unaffected.
UPDATE: According to Randy Mugleston, the test results have come back on the condition of the sewage water, and they varied. The tests showed that some rooms were contaminated and not safe for reoccupation yet. Mugleston was instructed to sterilize all the spaces in the basement one more time before considering to allow access to the campus community.