Extreme cold damages parts of Lilly Hall


Lilly Leak door

The January weather has been nasty, brutal and dangerous outside.

For the inside of some Purdue buildings, things have been unpleasant, too, thanks to frozen pipes and flooding.

Most of the dozen or so cases have been minor – nothing mopping and a wet-vac couldn’t fix. But one of the worst instances occurred Jan. 7 when a water line ruptured above one of Lilly Hall’s busiest classrooms. Room G-126 housed several Biological Sciences classes as well as horticulture, agronomy, Managerial Economics and even East Asia Modern World History. The classroom is temporarily closed but set to reopen later in the month.

A pipe underneath Prof. John Anderson’s lab exploded causing wet flooring inside the lab as well as in the hallway and the lab across the way. Most of the damage occurred directly underneath in G-126, which holds 190 students and is home to 20 classes in all and several study sessions.

Water flowed through small openings around utility pipes that run between floors and into the classroom, damaging ceiling and wall panels. Luckily, none of the electronics in front of the room were damaged. The structure of the room remains sound.

Lilly leak fans

“Our goal is to get the place dried out and fix the ceiling,” said Kevin Thedans, construction health and safety manager for Purdue’s Radiological and Environmental Management. “After we are done when the next cold snap hits, this should not happen again.”

Located in the oldest wing of Lilly, G-126 will get new wall and ceiling panels, plaster, and paint. Classes that had to be moved to such locales as Beering, Wetherill and Smith halls will return home to Lilly once the paint dries.

Thedans said Lilly was lucky the leak occurred on one of the lower levels. Also on Jan. 7, a leaky pipe that started in the attic of the Biochemistry Building flowed down to cause damage in all three floors, including the state chemist’s office.

Thedans and a crew are using high-efficiency particulate absorption filter fans to recirculate the air and dry out the air ducts to prevent mold and to get things ready for reconstruction. He said the room is safe to have classes in but it still needs a lot of cosmetic work.

“We’re getting this room back into shape,” Thedans said.

The frozen line that ruptured causing the damage in Anderson’s lab was quickly repaired by the combined efforts of Thedans’ crews and Lilly maintenance staff.

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