UNK’s Bruner Hall under repair following pipe burst

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) – One of the key buildings on the University of Nebraska Kearney campus has been out of service for at least a few weeks after a burst pipe last week caused flooding and significant damage.

A stairwell pipe on the fourth floor in Bruner Hall burst due to the freezing temperatures late Wednesday through early Thursday, causing flooding on the fourth floor that eventually reached the floors below and the basement. The Bruner Hall houses the chemistry department and laboratories, classrooms, research rooms, faculty offices and general rooms. These areas were all affected, causing students and faculty to move to other areas on campus.

“What is important is that we have a four-story building. So what has happened is that the water that has built up continues to basically keep leaking, creating really significant, almost catastrophic, challenges for all of the rest of the building down to the basement. Jon Watts, UNK’s vice chancellor for economics and finance, said.

Cleaning and restoration teams have been in Bruner Hall since early Thursday morning, working to clean up the damage, make repairs and assess what has been lost or can be removed and eventually put back in.

The affected areas are heated to at least 90 degrees to remove moisture from walls, floors and ceilings. The drawers remain open and the items have been removed from the floor to prevent further water damage. Ceiling tiles and baseboards have already been removed in many rooms and corridors.

What makes the process more difficult, according to Watts, is that the window is between two and three days to prevent mold from forming due to moisture. If the part inside this window is not dry, it will be necessary to remove the walls, ceilings and area of ​​the floor.

Watts knows at least eight other buildings on the UNK campus that have been hit by the cold, none as significant as Bruner Hall.

“This one, the extent and the size of the pipe, the way it is flooded, just doesn’t match any other damage on campus,” said Watts. “In fact, all of these would be viewed as practically superficial compared to what we are dealing with here. This is a historic loss to our campus and something we will be working on for the next several months. “

Another difficult part of the accident is that it takes significantly longer to assess the damage than it would otherwise because there is so much laboratory equipment in this part of the building. A professor’s damaged research room contained two large pieces of equipment, each worth over $ 300,000.

As of Wednesday, there is no schedule of when repairs, damage assessments and cleanups will be performed, nor is there an estimate of how much repairs and item replacements will cost UNK.

According to Watts, everyone is moving quickly and working around the clock to get people back into the building.

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