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A spirit that is not afraid

Haley Center bathroom flood highlights further maintenance problems

<p>The Haley Center entrance stairs located on Haley concourse, 9/14/2023.</p>

The Haley Center entrance stairs located on Haley concourse, 9/14/2023.

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the ninth floor of the Haley Center was partially flooded due to plumbing problems. The issue was promptly resolved by facilities management and janitorial staff.

Dan Whatley, executive director of operations at Facilities Management, said a plumbing issue was the source of the incident.

“[It was] caused by a failed flush valve stop on a toilet in the women’s restroom,” Whatley said. “This leak affected the corridors and several offices on the west side of Haley Center on the ninth, eighth and seventh floors.”

Toilet flush valves are the mechanisms that allow the toilet to flush. Combined with a clog or another issue, a failed valve stop can cause a toilet to overflow. 

The eighth floor contains most of the Department of Political Science and some English offices. The ninth floor primarily houses the Department of English’s offices and workrooms. While the flooding occurred on the ninth floor, it came down the walls to the lower levels. 

Emma Brousseau, managing editor for the Southern Humanities Review, which is housed on the ninth floor, described the incident. 

“They responded pretty quickly,” Brousseau said. “They were all kind of running around, and we had a lot of janitors up here and such.”

Brousseau noted that the disruption following the leak was minor.

“It’s just the sound of the pump,” Brousseau said. “[It was] just a kind of loud humming for a day or two.” 

Alicia Carroll, chair of the English department, said staff worked quickly to resolve the issue. 

“They did a great job, coming up with shop vacs, mops and buckets,” Carroll said. “We had Servpro here [on Sept. 12], and they went into all the offices and are monitoring for moisture.”

Whatley noted the continuing cleanup process in the Haley Center.

“Restoration efforts are ongoing,” he said. “Facilities Management is working closely with occupants to minimize the impacts on the use of their offices and hopes to return them to full use soon.”

The extent of the leak’s damage is not clear. On Sept. 15, Servpro drilled into the drywall of offices to insert pipes to further clear any remaining water. These pipes connect to large dehumidifiers placed throughout the floor. These are mainly on the eighth floor, where water from the leak came down into the walls. 

Bathroom flooding is not the only maintenance issue that plagues the Haley Center. For about a year, the air conditioning on the ninth floor has slowly gone out. In response, the University provided portable AC units in affected offices. 

“It kind of started slowly at the end of the hall,” Carroll said about the gradual loss of air conditioning. “Then slowly crept down [to the rest of the hall].”

As the Haley Center nears the 55th year since its original construction, these persistent issues present challenges to Facilities Management. The building’s future was not promising in the Campus Master Plan, released in 2013. Departments currently housed in the building will be placed elsewhere.

Some programs formerly in the Haley Center have found new homes, such as the College of Education. However, most of the College of Liberal Arts still resides in the Haley Center. As Auburn struggles with growing pains, the Haley Center remains the largest building on campus.

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Connor Copeland | Campus Editor

Connor Copeland, freshman in English literature, has been with The Plainsman since fall 2023

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