CORVALLIS, Ore. (KMTR) -- Oregon State University is continuing to repair major damage to one of it’s newest buildings following a power outage that lead to a pipe burst.
The pipe broke last Monday, December 17th, 2012 at the Linus Pauling Science Center, causing water to spew out across the top two floors of the building.
“We had probably an inch and a half standing water on both third and fourth floor,” said Patrick Hughes, Chief Risk Officer for Oregon State University.
For the last weeks, crews have been cleaning up the mess. The damage has forced OSU to move about 30 professors and science school staff out of about 18 offices.
Initial estimates peg the damage at around 400,000 to 500,000 dollars.
The pipe broke near the roof. OSU reps say it happened after the power went out. The pipe normally carries around 200 degree hot water. When the power went out, the water dropped in temperature, causing the pipe to contract. OSU says a weld then broke in the copper pipe, opening up a flow of water for about three hours.
Restoration crews finally removed drying equipment on Wednesday, December 26th, 2012.
In the meantime, crews have also had to tear out water logged particle board panels, sheet rock, ceiling tiles and some flooring. OSU says it's a big disruption but the flood could have been much more expensive.
“It won't hurt the research side of the building, but it's going to affect the staff doing their research. They're used to being in their offices and now they can't be,” says Hughes.
“If it had happened at a worse time, with everybody gone, we would have been looking at a different scenario,” says Hughes.
Since the repairs will cost nearly 500,000 dollars, OSU says the job has to be put out to a bid process. Once the bid process closes and a contractor is selected, the repair will take about 6 weeks complete. In all, OSU estimates it will likely be March 2013 before the building is back to normal.
OSU says the building is insured. The pipe break amounts to a "contractor design flaw" according to OSU. Before the break, contractors had repeatedly worked on the pipe, which was leaking. Contractors will now have to re-work the pipe problem so that the break doesn’t happen again.
The "Science Center" is OSU’s largest academic facility to date, worth more than 62-million dollars.