Gym closed due to flooding

by Beacon Staff • January 31, 2007

Water leaked into the first basement floor on Friday night and damage equipment in Frames Per Second's (FPS) office, in two piano rehearsal rooms, and the Musical Theatre Society's office.,Another pipe leak in Piano Row has derailed several student organizations' and basketball teams' activities this semester and damaged equipment worth over an estimated $17,500 last weekend, according to Emerson administrators and student group leaders.

Water leaked into the first basement floor on Friday night and damage equipment in Frames Per Second's (FPS) office, in two piano rehearsal rooms, and the Musical Theatre Society's office. As Friday night turned into Saturday morning, the water leaked onto the basketball court on the third basement level, causing damage that may cause the court to be replaced in May according to Roger Crosley, coordinator of athletic organizations.

The leak, Piano Row's second in 10 days, was caused when paper towels and sanitary napkins clogged a drain in the laundry room on the first floor, Director of Facilities Neal Lespasio said in an e-mail. The clogged drain caused a washing machine to overflow and backed up the main pipeline before water began leaking into lower floors.

FPS was hit hardest by the leak. FPS president George Hrico said at least $7500 worth of the group's equipment was damaged, including a new Avid editing system, a Power Mac G5 computer and accompanying software.

"Our ceiling had pretty much collapsed and most of our most expensive equipment was wet, all soaked to the point where I turned them on [Tuesday] and they popped and hissed," said Hrico, a senior film major.

"When you push down on the keyboard, water starts overflowing out of it."

About $1400 worth of film negatives were soaked during the leak, but it was the film's contents which were invaluable, Hrico said. He had left Night Ride, a film produced last semester by Rebecca Lear, sitting out overnight. Lear, a junior film major, and her crew had never seen their film, which is probably destroyed or permanently damaged, Hrico said.

His estimate did not include an office computer, three lighting kits, two hard drives and a zip drive that were soaked because they had been purchased before he joined FPS and he did not know how much it would cost to replace them.

Piano Row's basketball court is damaged in seven places, Crosley said. The company that installed the court, Kenvo Floors, will being "quick fix" repairs by sanding down problem spots on Friday. The court is scheduled to be re-opened on February 12th, and Crosley said he hopes the rest of the basketball season will be able to be played there.

He said the leak lasted from about 9 p.m. Friday night until 4 a.m. Saturday morning, time enough for water to seep underneath the court.

This saturation will force Emerson to replace at least the seven damaged areas after the season in May.

"The entire floor may have to be totally replaced," Crosley said.

Running his hands over the floor at half-court, Crosley said the wood had been warped by the leak in several places, which will make any repairs more difficult and could cause dead spots.

"You can feel how the boards are coming up and cupping on the sides," he said.

For now, the damage to the court forced Emerson's basketball teams to reschedule home games or play them away from the "Lion's Den."

The women's team's game on Monday against St. Joseph's was rescheduled and the men's home game on Saturday was played at Emmanuel. Both teams' Saturday games will be played 30 minutes away at Pine Manor College, their old home court in Chestnut Hill.

Basketball player Maude Okrah said the rescheduled games will hurt the teams in their first season with a true home court.

"I hope it's taken care of quickly because home court has been so big for us this season in the new gym," Okrah, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, said.

Two pianos in rehearsal rooms in Piano Row's first basement floor were also damaged, and the rooms have been closed until they can be professionally evaluated by M. Steinert and Sons, the Boylston Street-based piano merchant that sold them.

Emerson officials will then find out whether the pianos, which they said cost about $5000 each, can be repaired or will have to be replaced.

Sharon Duffy, associate dean of students, said the pianos were wet and the keys stuck when played.

The Musical Theater Society's office didn't receive any permanent damage, president Jordan Kai Burnett, a junior musical theater major, said.

Their computer and boxes of t-shirts leftover from various events were dampened, and she said her main concern now was mold.