Sunday, February 8, 2009

Addition to PC post (below): Situation at Antioch College--Main Hall Water Leak

Dear People: Late last night I received word about the serious water leakage in Main Hall that a villager discovered late yesterday. This morning, after speaking with Judith Hempfling, I sent the following letter (below) to the Council and the Planning Commission, as well as to our village manager, Mark Cundiff, Ed Amrhein, and our Solicitor John Chambers.

I have asked, below, that this issue be addressed at our Planning Commission meeting tomorrow night (7 pm, Bryan Center, second floor), at least briefly.

A villager also asked me to share with everyone that a group of concerned citizens are calling for people to meet at noon, tomorrow (2/9) at the "horseshoe" on campus in front of the Main Building. They are demanding that the university take action to deal with the damage and preserve the building. The press has been alerted.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding this developing situation.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: lori
Date: Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Situation at Antioch College campus--Main Building

Dear Council, Planning Commission, Mark, Ed, & John: I am writing on behalf of both Judith, who is off on call this weekend, and myself. We wanted to be sure that Council and the Planning Commission are aware of the major water leak that has occurred in the historic Main Building on the Antioch College campus, apparently from the sprinkler system, over the weekend.

A village resident was walking his dog across campus late yesterday when he noticed water seemingly seeping out of the walls of the Main Building in ways that did not seem quite consistent with normal roof melt, etc. He approached the windows of the President's office on the eastern/traditional "front" of the building, and saw water essentially raining indoors, into several inches of water all over the floor throughout the former President's office. He called the MTFR. Looking in through other windows, the resident could see [water] was streaming into the hallways of the first floor, raining in from the upper floors in many places. A video showing the damage as it was happening has been posted on You Tube:

Judith and another concerned resident who spoke to the MTFR last night were told that the MTFR were called to the campus by a resident and had shut off a main connector that was supplying the sprinkler system in the building. Hours later, water, apparently from the upper floors, was still raining down to the lower floors.

Several weeks ago, in fact, a similar problem apparently arose with the sprinkler system in South Hall around Christmas time. At the Miami Township Trustees meeting of January 5, 2009, MTFR chief Colin Altman described being dispatched to the campus at several points for a few problems, in particular when a sprinkler systems had frozen in South Hall--on the fourth floor and flowed down the building and 'did a lot of damage.' Dry wall collapsed, etc. In South Hall, an alarm went off, and water was actually shooting out the building on the fourth floor, he said. Main Building, he said, at around that time had also had a valve leaking from its "dry" system. In the theatre, also, however, a tremendous amount of water damage occurred when a sprinkler froze--apparently one they believed was a "dry" system, but which was not. (It was erroneously reported in a letter to the YS News that this leak was from the roof, but it was not.) There was no alarm to alert officials to this problem, so it was probably on-going for some time. Someone at the meeting commented that 150,000 gallons of water / day was being lost on the campus during that time, but I am not certain who said that or where they were getting their information from. Finally, Mr. Altman mentioned that the Union building also has experienced a lot of temperature fluxuation and condensation which has caused alarms to go off. He said that in those cases the University has been responsive and "has addressed things as best they can." [This is based on my viewing of the DVD of the Jan. 5th meeting of the MTT]

Citizens are expressing several concerns to both Judith and me about the damage to Main Hall:

1) The bricks through to the outside of the building have apparently soaked up a lot of water. When this water re-freezes and thaws again in the coming weeks, this will inevitably weaken the bricks, which provide the structural support for the building. Can they be dried out before this freeze/thaw cycle occurs? Could heating the building in the meantime possibly help?

2) If the building is not thoroughly dried--with more than a mop--mold will be a serious problem inside the building this spring.

3) Have the floors of the building been so thoroughly soaked as to be unsafe?

4) Most importantly, this is an historic building, decidedly the most prominent historic building on the campus, and in our community. Its cultural and historic significance is impossible to overstate. Villagers feel a collective responsibility to the preservation of this structure and its beautiful, landmark spires. They want to be assured that everything is being done that can be done, on our part--whatever that might be--to deal with this situation and protect this tremendous asset.

As a member of the Planning Commission, I request that this issue to be at least briefly addressed at the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow night. A report from Mr. Altman would be helpful, if it can be arranged. I also request that village staff report any further information that they might receive from any sources regarding this developing situation to the PC at that time.

Lori Askeland

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