It has been a difficult February, according to Jerry Sidio, University of Rhode Island director of facilities.
On Feb. 21, a frozen sprinkler line in the attic of Lippitt Hall burst and flooded four rooms, said Sidio. The next day, a heating line in Washburn Hall froze and burst and soaked four classrooms. Sidio said that state and university workers are owed around $80,000 in overtime work collectively as a result of Blizzard Juno and the other snowfalls this year.
Funding for snow removal and building repairs comes from the annual facilities budget. Once the damage hits $100,000 for building related damages, the University’s private insurance kicks in to cover the rest of the funds. There are additional policies that cover furniture and merchandise loss that have a lower deductible, he said.
The university is still waiting on invoices from the contractors hired to clean up the water damage and to help clear snow.
Classes originally held in Lippitt and Washburn were moved to other buildings to accommodate cleanup crews. Sidio said the damage in Lippitt was primarily structural, and the rooms’ contents, including books and computers, were not damaged. Ceiling tiles and carpets held the brunt of the damage, he said.
These are not the first issues URI has had with extreme temperatures and building damages this year. Similar cases with bursting pipes and flooding have already happened in Bliss, Swan and Chafee Halls, the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, the Pharmacy Building and Coastal Institute, as a result of long term freezing temperatures and intense snowfall.
Sidio said the University typically experiences some issues with roofing every year, but he said he has “not experienced anything of this magnitude like this year.”