Burst water pipe prompts classroom, office shuffle at Greenfield Community College
GREENFIELD — A frozen water pipe in Greenfield Community College’s north wing burst early Sunday morning, prompting a cleanup effort and reshuffling of classroom and office spaces.
The pipe burst at 4:49 a.m. Sunday, releasing water onto the third floor and triggering an automatic alarm system, said GCC President Robert Pura.
Five classrooms and eight faculty offices on the north wing’s second and third floor were deemed unusable — affecting the college’s English and history departments. Temporary classroom and office spaces were created in time for the start of school Monday.
Greenfield Fire Department was notified by the alarm system and was on the scene for the next two hours, said Deputy Chief Robert Strahan. A total of three engines and 13 firefighters helped school officials stop the water flow and contain the damaged area. The water may have collected up to an inch high in some rooms, he said. It seeped through the floor down onto the second floor.
Although the excess water has been removed, the school must now assess possible damage to floor tiles and wall insulation, said Pura.
He said that the rooms may be inoperable for as long as two weeks. College employees came in Sunday to help set up alternate teaching spaces and offices.
All classes continued Monday in the alternate classroom spaces throughout the building. Faculty offices have been temporarily set up in the MacLeish room, a large space adjacent to the library on the third floor.
Pura said the faulty pipe burst because of this weekend’s sudden drop in temperatures. The pipe dates back at least 15 years, when the north wing was renovated, but could even be older. There is no indication that other pipes are faulty, he said, but they will all be checked.
It is still too early to estimate what the damage will cost the school financially, said Pura, who hopes to have that information by the end of this week. The school has hired company Complete Restoration Solutions to finish immediate cleanup.
Pura praised all involved in the cleanup effort Sunday, and the cooperativeness of faculty and students Monday.
“I can’t say enough about the responsiveness of so many people,” he said. “It was a great team effort. People were committed to getting the job done (and were) very positive in their approach.”