Micah Wilkins, Echo Online Writer
Sunderland will be under construction for the rest of the semester to repair damages resulting from the March 28 flood, according to Paul Braese, director of Facilities Management & Technical Services.
There are two phases to the repairs, according to Braese. The first phase, which was successfully completed April 14, aimed to ensure that the foundation of the building was completely dry. To access the wooden frame of the building, layers of the flooring were torn up, including carpet, tile and concrete. In addition, the humidity of the air in the building is constantly being tested.
Last month’s flooding required a direct and immediate response from several crews on campus, many of which showed up within 30 minutes of the incident, and eventually from outside resources.
“What’s important is that you take care of this quickly,” Braese said, “because literally in 24 hours mold can grow. You have to expose all wood surfaces so that it can dry out.”
Now that the demolition and drying phase has completed, First Restoration Services of Western North Carolina, the company hired by the college to repair the damages, will work on bringing the building back to its condition prior to flooding.
The goal for the completion of restoring the building is June 1, as conferences at the college begin June 8. This deadline is realistic, according to Braese, only if the appropriate resources are brought in. Though Braese isn’t aware of the estimated cost of the repairs, he is confident that the insurance company’s $10,000 deductible will be met.
“This will be a very expensive process,” he said.
Braese said the flood was caused by a student tampering with the case of a sprinkler head, and this discharged the system. The flood started on the second floor of the residence hall, and water quickly saturated the first floor and basement.
Due to the level of damage in the center of the building, these areas from the second floor to the basement will remain blocked off for the remainder of the semester.
According to Sunderland Area Coordinator Katie Buehner, five student rooms were affected by the flooding. Four of the rooms affected belong to Residential Advisors, with one student room affected, as well as the second and first floor common rooms of the building. Buehner’s apartment and office, however, received the most damage, and Buehner has been forced to temporarily relocate.
As this residence hall is one of the older buildings on campus, Buehner feels it could probably do with some renovations. Whether improvements will be made on the building is contingent upon the availability of sufficient funds needed to pay for necesarry replacements and upgrades, according to Braese.
“It’s a decision that’s not going to be made by us,” he said. “It’s a decision that’s going to be made by costs, and right now money is tight.”