Classes relocate after pipe bursts in University Hall


Tanner Maxwell/Daily Senior Staffer

A fire truck comes to University Hall after a pipe burst Wednesday. Students and faculty in the building were evacuated.

Ciara McCarthy and Ally Mutnick

Students and professors were evacuated from University Hall on Wednesday afternoon after a burst pipe caused flooding and triggered the building’s fire alarm.

The building was evacuated after the fire alarm went off at about 2:15 p.m. The Evanston fire department and University Police responded to the scene shortly after.

The extreme outside temperature caused a sprinkler head in the building’s fire suppression system to freeze and burst, said Gary Wojtowicz, the director of Facilities Management. The sprinkler head was located on the top floor, causing “water inundation” all the way down to the first floor, Wojtowicz said.

Evanston fire department Division Chief Dwight Hohl explained that water flow through the sprinkler system automatically triggered the fire alarm and alerted the fire department, which is why officers showed up to investigate.

“It wasn’t anything significant,” Hohl said.

The Office of the Registrar moved one class from University Hall 102 when the instructor called requesting a different room, said Maria DiBenedetto, associate University registrar.

The registrar’s office is also planning to reschedule classes tomorrow that are in the same room, along with any other professors who ask to be relocated.

A class scheduled in University Hall 102 on Thursday has been relocated to Seabury-Western Theological Seminary until further notice, according to an email sent by the office.

Medill junior Sunny Choo said her sociology class was cancelled after students evacuated the building. Choo said her professor indicated all the cancellations would take a toll on the class.

“She said that now since this is the second time were missing class, she’s going to have to completely adjust our syllabus,” Choo said.

Wojtowicz said he did not have an estimate for when the building would be ready for occupancy.

“Repairs are underway to the sprinkler head,” he said. “We’re still addressing the damage.”

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Twitter: @allymutnick