Dairy/Micro water damage concerns faculty, students

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Water problems are visible in the Dairy/Microbiology building. On the first and second floors, ceiling tiles are stained and missing.

Vikram Mistry, professor and head of dairy science, said the aesthetics of the tiles, water damaged by a leaky roof, are a problem.

“When you look up and you see water spots all over and there are missing tiles, it’s a poor impression. It goes beyond that – it’s an image thing,” he said.

The image of the Dairy/Microbiology building may be considered more important than others because of its high traffic of prospective students who are often offered free ice cream during campus tours.

“We do business with the admissions office to the rate of about 3,000 cones a year,” said Howard Bonnemann, plant manager for the Dairy Bar housed in the Dairy/Microbiology building.

The impression that the building makes on possible future students also worries Regina Cahoe, a senior biology and German major who works in a lab in the building.

“It looks really bad for a school that’s trying to become D-I,” she said. “If I visited a school and one of the buildings had empty paint buckets and stuff out catching all this water I might go, ‘Well, I dunno.’

“They send possible new students to get ice cream. It’s one of the first buildings they spend time in and there’s a leaking roof,” Cahoe said.

Dean Kattelmann, director of the Physical Plant, said the roof was repaired last summer and the last reported roof leak was in September 2004.

During last summer’s construction, new doors and windows were also installed in the building.

Cheesbrough said the new doors and windows were installed to alleviate water leakage around the windows.

Bonnemann said the rainwater leaks are nothing new.

“It has been doing that for the better part of a decade,” he said.

Mistry said there is a second type of water damage in the building.

“We have had not just (leaks) from the roof but between the floors as well. There are labs upstairs but if there is an overflow, it goes into offices,” he said.

This water running between floors – from second- and third-floor labs into first- and second-floor offices – is the result of human error.

Tom Cheesbrough, professor and head of biology and microbiology, said, “We’ve had a number of leaks in the last few months but almost all of them can be chalked up to random errors – just human mistakes.”

Kattelmann agreed.

“These are all human mistakes. The labs are clogging up the sinks and then they overflow and that’s the problem,” he said. “[Someone] left a window open that froze a pipe,” which also led to water problems.

#1.885162:2082951762.jpg:Micro ceiling.jpg:Several ceiling tiles are missing in the Dairy Microbiology building, just outside the Dairy Bar area. Water damage has been a problem in the building.: