Maintenance problems plague Piano Row

by Beacon Staff • January 31, 2007

The piano row dorm suffered water damage when a pipe burst on Jan. 17. While damage to the building was minimal, some students' possessions received an unexpected shower.,As students settled into the dorms after the holiday break, they were greeted with an unexpected surprise.

The piano row dorm suffered water damage when a pipe burst on Jan. 17. While damage to the building was minimal, some students' possessions received an unexpected shower.

According to Neal Lespasio Jr., the director of facilities management, due to a faulty temperature sensor, a small water coil froze, which caused the pipe to burst and release water into the dormitory.

"Damage was limited to the replacement of some ceiling tiles and carpet shampooing," said Lespasio in an e-mail interview. "The cost for the clean up was minimal, a few hours of labor from our custodial and trades people."

One of the rooms to receive a majority of the damage was 1105, which houses six people.

After a call from her roommate concerning the damage to the suite, Katie Meyer found some objects she left on the floor soaked.

"There was about 1.5 inches of water on the floor," said Meyer, a freshman design technology major.

The items that suffered the most damage were her iPod, digital camera, art supplies and clothes.

"It could have been a lot worse. At least there were no laptops on the floor," Meyer said.

Chelsea Phillips, Meyer's suitemate, was not as lucky. Her computer battery, external hard drive, digital camera, luggage and clothes were also ruined.

"I am upset with Emerson as far as expediting," said Phillips, a sophomore television/video major. "I go to a school that needs mechanics, and right now I am without my computer and external hard drive."

Meyer is bringing her iPod and digital camera to the IT department, where she hopes they can be fixed. Her art supplies are covered by renter's insurance, and Emerson has offered to pick up the tab for professionally cleaning her clothes.

Phillips is still unsure as to what will happen to her possessions that cannot be restored. It is still undetermined whether Emerson will cover the cost of the damages if the items cannot be repaired.

Meyer's and Phillip's personal belongings were not the only items to get wet. The carpets in their rooms were also soaked.

According to Meyer, they have cleaned the carpet three times since the incident.

"I found it off that it happened," said Molly Milianazzo, a junior television/video major who resides in Piano Row.

"I would assume that they would be better prepared, but sometimes you never know," she added.

While the incident did occur in a brand new building, Emerson is not behind in routine check-ups.

"All of the Emerson buildings operated in the Theatre District are subject to an on-going HVAC maintenance program," Lespasio said.

Periodically and on a scheduled basis, visual and hands-on maintenance to all of our mechanical equipment is performed.

"This allows us to keep equipment running efficiently and serve our customers properly explained," Lespasio said. "Because of our extensive maintenance program we are confident that similar situations are not likely in the future."

Meyer understood the situation, despite the damage to her property.

"It happens when you live in a big building," said Meyer.

"It is no one's fault and everything that happened was explainable," Meyer added.