SRU’s Smith Student Center ‘in great shape’ following flood


painting new dry wall at student center

Patching and paint work is being finished at offices inside the Smith Student Center following the July 4 water main break.

Aug. 9, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa.- The 4th of July proved to be anything but festive for Slippery Rock University's Smith Student Center. A broken water line in the building's mechanical room spilled more than two feet of water into some areas of the first floor causing an estimated $130,000 in damages.

Since that time, 30-plus facilities employees have been involved in a variety of repairs to, or replacement of, computers, transformers, networking systems and general building materials.

"We've had a number of carpenters and painters working 12-to-14 hour shifts, replacing carpet and drywall and re-painting offices and hallways to ready the building for the fall semester," said Scott Albert, assistant vice president for facilities and planning.

"We're still assessing equipment damage in the mechanical room to things such as pumps, motors and electronic panels that were exposed to moisture from the flood," Albert said.

Numerous electricians, carpenters, painters, laborers and custodians have been involved in the cleanup process which began shortly after the flood was discovered at approximately July 5 at 3:15 a.m. said Albert.

"(The crews) have done an absolutely incredible job," he said. "Their diligence and speed are more than commendable."

In the wake of the flood, which resulted in a five-day closure of the building, a number of SRU employees were relocated to other buildings across campus as normal business continued.

Albert said to speed the drying process; holes were cut in effected drywall baselines in order to circulate air between the studs and walls. Moisture readings were taken almost hourly as an industrial-sized, truck-mounted dehumidifier was brought on campus to help remove moisture.

Chris Cole, director of conference services, which has its offices inside the Student Center, said "basically anything that was sitting on the floor," including computer towers and portable sound systems, was a loss. During the five-day building closure, conference services employees worked in either Watson Hall or the ballroom of the center for five days.

"Aside from the new carpet smell and a minor wall patch, it's hard to tell that an incident occurred," said Cole. "We have just marveled at the speed in which the facilities crew has been able to take care of everything. There has been such a sprit of collaboration."

The Smith Student Center houses the SGA Bookstore, a ballroom, multi-purpose theatre, conference rooms, lounges, restaurants and is home to many students clubs and organizations.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 |