MUN, Marine Institute take back rooms following floods

Andrew Robinson
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Damage to Memorial University’s arts building annex and the Marine Institute was extensive earlier this month after water pipes burst.

Damage was extensive to MUN’s arts and administration building annex as a result of flooding in early January.

Things are now relatively back to normal at both facilities, although some reminders of the damage from a massive power outage remain.

When staff arrived at the Marine Institute Jan. 5 to assess the damage caused by burst pipes in its sprinkler system, they were greeted by a waterfall flowing over three flights of stairs.

“People came in and said there’s no way we’re opening up for weeks,” said Trevor Pike, acting manager of facilities and technical services for the Marine Institute.

Approximately 60 rooms were damaged.

In the arts building annex at MUN, water came pouring down from the top floor, affecting five floors in all. A total of 41 classrooms and offices were damaged.

MUN dean of arts Lynne Phillips said that as of last Monday, all damaged rooms and offices were once again in use.

“The first priority was trying to get the classrooms in shape,” said Phillips, noting those on the first and second floors are regularly in use.

Other faculties helped out by offering temporary office space. Items in classrooms and offices that could be salvaged were stored underneath the Reid Theatre. Books and computers were among some of the damaged goods.

“There’s one professor who has been collecting very important archival material for years and years — he had 60 boxes in his offices,” said Phillips. “That ended up being fine. His papers were protected, but we were very worried about that.”

While the Marine Institute has not been put in a situation where any classes had to be moved because of the damage, repair work is still ongoing there.

Prior to the school’s reopening on Jan. 9, areas used by students were prioritized for repairs, Pike said.

Workers were contracted to assist with restoration efforts at both sites. Phillips said those who worked on the arts building annex were very thorough and sympathetic to MUN staff.

As the Marine Institute operates on land owned by the Department of Transportation and Works, officials with that department have also been involved in making arrangements to get repairs completed.

“I am very pleased with the quick action of the staff at the Marine Institute, the Department of Transportation and Works and contractors to ensure emergency repairs were made to the institute with minimal impact on our students," Marine Institute vice-president Glenn Blackwood said in a statement released to The Tele­gram.

Pike said it is not yet known when work will conclude. The insurance adjuster for the government has been signing off on work completed by the contractor, but the full cost of restoration work at the Marine Institute is not yet known, Pike said.

“Everything that was wet and damaged has been replaced,” he said, adding that workers are now focused on painting, plastering and flooring jobs.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Marine Institute, Marine Institute.Approximately 60, Department of Transportation and Works Reid Theatre

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