Library flooding relocates students across campus


After flooding last Saturday, the lower level of the library could take several weeks to reopen, possibly remaining closed into May.

On Apr. 15, Michelle Floyd, student receptionist in the LAC, visited the flooded area. “It’s an absolute disaster down there,” she said.

“I can only say that we’re making progress this week. Everything has been taken out [of the library], everything is drying up and then we have to assess if everything is dry enough so we can put in new carpet,” said Associate Dean for Instructional Support Services Karen Ferrer Muñiz last week.

The cause of the flooding was a cracked drainage pipe on the north side of the library in a back room near the Learning Assistance Center (LAC). “As things started flowing through that pipe over time, it clogs, and the backup was due to that split pipe,” said Joe Leffler, assistant to the director of the Physical Plant.

The area was cleared of flooding afterwards by the Physical Plant. Currently, objects affected by the flooding are being disinfected.

The library, which usually closes at 4 p.m., closed two hours earlier on Apr. 11, around the time that the pipe burst. Several students in the lower level were evacuated shortly after the flooding started, with faculty following after the Physical Plant shut the water off.

After the flooding, the laptop lending service and Instructional Media Center (IMC) collection were moved to the front desk on the first floor of the library, while the Collegiate Academic Support Services (CASP) and the LAC were moved to the second floor.

“We immediately needed to make a plan. I had to be ahead of my game in thinking, ‘How can I make sure you guys [students] can get what you need?’” said Muñiz.

The Computer Learning Center (CLC) was relocated to the Campus Center Cyber Cafe following the flooding. “A lot of people use the lower level for the computers and I wanted to make sure we had an alternative,” said Muñiz, who planned out relocation of facilities such as the LAC and CLC the day following the flooding.

In the Cyber Cafe, students have had access to 64 computers but have been unable to seek assistance nearby, as they could in the CLC space. “[The flooding] did take away from a lot of the tutors that are usually around downstairs,” said Farida Safi, individual studies student, who was in the Cyber Cafe because she was unable to access a computer on the second floor of the library.

“It just seems like every computer that isn’t filled [usually] is filled now,” said Nick Nysdorph, criminal justice student, a regular user of the Cyber Cafe.

“There’s really barely any space at all here,” said Dennis Mason, business administration student, on Apr. 15.

HVAC-R student Jameson Parker said of the Cyber Cafe, “This is the most packed I’ve ever seen it, but it’s been louder. I’ve seen it louder with a few people.”

Muñiz has been exploring taking over classrooms and media rooms and converting them into study spaces if there is a need soon, but currently her main goal is to open up the lower level as soon as possible.

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