UT Addressing Weather-Related Building Problems

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Facilities Services has been working around the clock since Sunday to manage a number of building problems throughout the UT campus due to the freezing temperatures earlier this week.

Problems with various plumbing and heating systems are currently being addressed in academic buildings, including the Art and Architecture Building, Bailey Education Complex, Dougherty Engineering, and the Food Science and Technology Building. Spring semester classes began Wednesday. The isolated problems have not required reassignment of classrooms, and no buildings have been closed.

Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Services, said it has been at least twenty-five years since a deep freeze has impacted as many buildings on campus.

Damages are currently estimated at about $250,000 and include broken sprinkler and plumbing pipes; HVAC units; flooding damage to ceiling, floors, and sheetrock, he said.

About 160 employees, including grounds, maintenance, and custodial crews, have been working overtime since Sunday evening to address ongoing problems. Some in plumbing, electrical, and zone maintenance have not been home since Sunday, sleeping in campus buildings between fourteen-hour shifts.

The campus’s emergency cleanup contractor has also been helping to address cleanup in several facilities.

Irvin said workers have helped to minimize damage to building caused by burst pipes.

Crews have been able to address intermittent problems in several residence halls to lessen the impact on students. No students have had to relocate to other rooms within the halls. Workers are addressing water line, plumbing, and heating problems at South Carrick Hall, Massey Hall, Morrill Hall, Volunteer Hall, Hess Hall, and Reese Hall.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Tau Omega residents have been impacted by electrical problems associated with the cold weather. A leak was also reported this morning at the Phi Kappa Psi house.

UT Housing has offered temporary rooms to the residents of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Tau Omega fraternities. Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority is also dealing with water damage from the bursting of the house’s sprinkler pipes.

The freezing temperatures have caused pipes to burst at the Regal Soccer Stadium, Neyland Stadium, and the Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium The process of replacing burst sprinkler heads and water lines is underway, and the most prevalent damage at Neyland Stadium appears to be carpet-related. The carpets impacted are being cleaned and dried. There is no serious damage to the infrastructure of any sports facilities.

The campus has spent about 8,000 man hours to date on the emergency response, repair, and cleanup, with the number expected to exceed 10,000 hours, Irvin said.

CONTACT:

Karen Simsen (865-974-5186, karen.simsen@tennessee.edu)

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