The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Repairs lead to pipe leaks within Bruner Hall

Workers failed to shut a valve after repairing a water coil. Photo by Grace McDonald / Antelope Staff

On March 16, a company was repairing a water coil in one of the heating units of Bruner Hall. When workers didn’t shut the valve on the unit, the cap on the end of the pipe failed, causing a leak.

The leak was caught early, but not without causing water damage in the building.

“The team caught it fairly quickly and was able to get the water source isolated and turned off,” said Michael Cremers, director of UNK’s facilities management and planning. “Then our custodial team and maintenance team were notified pretty quickly and able to mobilize and start extracting the water and getting things dried out from there.”

The leak occurred in the chemistry department on the fourth floor. Two professors had to move out of their offices, as drywall repair was needed and the carpet had to be pulled out and dried. Most of the repairs were needed for water damage in the hallway. 

Thermal imaging and moisture sensors were used to determine how far up on the wall the water reached. Then, repairmen had to cut sections of the drywall and plaster to dry out the inside of the wall. When it’s dry, they can go back and replace where it was cut out.

The carpet tiles can be pulled up, dried out and put back down. Cremers said he doesn’t expect the repairs to take more than a month.

Bruner Hall has experienced flooding multiple times in the past. In February 2021, the building experienced major flooding that affected all four floors and canceled classes and labs. Water damage also occurred over winter break when a pipe froze and leaked. 

This incident was unrelated to the other times the building has flooded. 

“There’s a lot of different systems in Bruner because it’s the science building and some of the needs that they have,” Cremers said. “So unfortunately, some of these events can be from the various systems, some of it can be from roof failures and where we have rain and now all of a sudden we’ll have water coming in. This one was the heating water issue.”

Faculty members said they would appreciate things being fixed so they don’t have leaks. 

“The general consensus amongst all of the faculty in this building is we would like it so that having floods isn’t something that we’re almost expecting,” said Annette Moser, the chair of the chemistry department.

The location of the leak and quick catch prevented any damage to equipment in the department. Moser said the time lost from dealing with the cleanup and mess is sometimes just as important.

UNK is working to improve the building and prevent further issues similar to this one. 

“We know we have some deferred maintenance needs in Bruner Hall, and the university is addressing that,” said Todd Gottula, senior director of communications and marketing at UNK. “We are establishing a working group to look at those needs – plumbing, electrical, HVAC, flooring, roofing, windows/doors and exterior brick repairs – and examining the funds and timelines needed to make those upgrades.”

Gottula said Bruner Hall had received about $165,000 in recent upgrades and UNK has identified about $1.6 million in current and upcoming projects for the building.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *