EDITORIAL: Steaming mad: Broken pipe should be fixed quickly

Editorial cartoon 3.15

Herald staff

The issue: The steam flow in front of Minton Hall will not be fixed until after spring commencement.

Our stance: Facilities Management should work harder to stop the steam flow, as it has some negative effects.

For months now, a broken hot water pipe that carries condensate to the Central Heating plant has caused a constant steam flow in front of Minton. Though it is more of a nuisance than an absolute horror, the steam still causes problems that should be addressed more aggressively by Facilities Management.

Foremost, with WKU’s focus on branding, it seems that officials would try harder to ensure a good presentation of the campus. The area affected by the steam is a hot spot for admissions tours as it showcases Minton Hall and the Downing University Center, a key building for all students. The steam, with its unpleasant odor, could cause potential students to think poorly of the campus.

University officials also push for environmental friendliness. But the steam is killing the grass that surrounds it. Sure, it’s a small amount of grass compared to all the lawns on campus, but it is equally important to the environment.

Furthermore, administrators revoked the privilege to park on grass during tailgating, reasoning that cars damaged the lawns, especially on rainy days, and made them unpresentable for visitors. They also said the damage would be too expensive to risk.

It is boldly hypocritical to give that reasoning for tailgating, then allow the steam to linger since January. The steam causes the same problems, even if on a smaller scale.

Dale Dyer, plant operations manager, said repairs failed because the pipes are in poor condition. He added that repairs would take four or more weeks and be disruptive for pedestrians. But that answer is unacceptable given that time frames and concern for the disruption of pedestrian or vehicle traffic hasn’t haulted other construction projects, including the new music hall near the fine arts center.

While some Minton residents have found a humorous bright side, using the steam as a backdrop for their version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, others are annoyed.

The Herald encourages the facilities team to find a short-term resolution to appease the hundreds of people who populate that area at all times of the day, whether they are heading to eat in DUC, walking to class or simply enjoying a nice day outside.

After all, it’s not unreasonable for a student to want to be comfortable on the campus where they spend so much time.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.