Damage to the Commons, other buildings caused by freezing water pipes


Marshall C. Canupp

The Commons At Helm Library illuminate the walkway beside the Fine Arts Center. Chief Facilities Officer Bryan Russell said the building is “extremely close” to being operational.

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

The Commons at Helm Library has sustained “minimal interior damage” during the abnormally cold Kentucky winter weather, Bryan Russell, WKU chief facilities officer, said in an email on Dec. 29.

“[W]ith the extreme low temperatures [of] -5 degrees combined with very windy conditions WKU had some freezing of water pipes across campus,” Russell said. 

The damage was caused when water coils located above two “dedicated outdoor air system” units froze and ruptured, Russell said. The water has been turned off and the units isolated until the proper repairs can be made, Russell said.

The damaged area consisted of a “third floor study room and one office below that,” Russell said.

“These areas have been addressed to mitigate the water but the damage is minimal and will not cause operational issues upon return of occupants to the building,” Russell said. 

Russell did not provide a timeline on when the repairs would be completed but said the damage to the Commons was very minimal.

While Paul Davis Restorations, a damage repair company, will be on campus cleaning up other areas, WKU Facilities is handling the cleanup at the Commons, according to Russell.

Some other areas affected, according to Russell, were the Engineering and Biological Sciences building, Snell Hall, the baseball press box and Diddle Arena.

Most of the buildings suffered very minor damages, Russell said, but EBS and Snell Hall were the two bigger messes. 

“None of them are major,” Russell said. “I mean, we’re talking a very little bit of water.”

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected].