Perfect Storm

By Karl Erikson

On Friday, January 10, the Markin Racquet Center experienced severe leaking when large amounts of water trapped on the roof began seeping through the ceiling. Soon after the leaking was discovered, management was called to evaluate the situation and the leaking was deemed severe enough for an immediate call to Kalamazoo College’s Facilities Management.

The Women’s Tennis Coach and Director of Tennis Facilities – Mr. Mark Murphy – made the call that night.

“When I learned of the problem, I contacted Pam Barret,” Murphy said. “She is in charge of facilities for Facilities Management. We had a pretty severe leak in the women’s locker room area of the Racquet Center and there was a smaller leak in the furnace room/storage room.”

Branden Metzler ‘16 was one of the first on the scene.

“I was just coming out of tennis practice on Friday night,” Metzler said. “We had practice from 6pm to 8pm and we were just coming out of the tennis courts when we heard this big rush of water and we (the tennis guys and I) were running toward it to see what was wrong and we saw a bunch of water coming out of the bathroom, from the bottom. So we decided to go look inside. We thought a shower was running … but we saw water leaking from the ceiling pretty badly, like a tub of water every few minutes.”

The Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Paul Manstrom quickly decided to call in a third party to help contain the situation.

“For Markin, we actually had to bring in a roofer to come in on overtime and we had a custodian come in to pick up the water,” Manstrom said. “We had to bring in a drain service, Roto-rooter, to come in and hot water jet the storm drain out so that it would start to drain [the water].”

With ruined ceiling tiles, overtime work put in to clean up the situation, and a possible carpet replacement, Mr. Manstrom can see the dollars adding up.

“We are in the process of adding up the damages. We had about five or six areas of leaks on campus that Friday night, but nothing quite as major as what happened at Markin,” Manstrom said. “The College has a $10,000 deductible for incidents like that. We are probably talking between $1,000 and $2,000 worth of damage.”

With a junior level tennis tournament scheduled for that weekend, Mr. Murphy was determined to have things go on as scheduled.

“We kept them out of the locker rooms so they just used the rest rooms on the other side,” Murphy said. “It was a junior tournament, and it’s four courts so we didn’t have a lot of kids so we were able to stay open, but we did not allow access to the locker rooms.”

Murphy, Manstrom, and the rest of the Facilities Management team are working on possible solutions in the future to make sure that incidents like this don’t happen again.

“We’ve had some issues, but we’re not sure how we’d prevent what happened at Markin with the catch basin drain freezing up like that except to check it,” Manstrom said. “Old buildings and flat roofs are great, but they are vulnerable to things like this.”