Burst water pipe relocates admissions, registrar teams

Sandwich board tells campus the building is closed

The Enrollment Services Center is closed for restoration work from water damage following a burst sprinkler pipe Jan. 3 on the third floor. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

A broken fire sprinkler pipe above a third-floor conference room in the Enrollment Services Center in the early hours of Jan. 3 caused enough water damage to force occupants -- staff in the registrar and admissions offices -- to relocate temporarily.

When spring semester begins Tuesday, the registrar staff will receive walk-in clients on the second floor of the Hixson-Lied Student Success Building. The new student programs office on the second floor of the Memorial Union (MU) will serve admissions' walk-in guests, said associate vice president for enrollment management Laura Doering. International students will be served (by admissions staff) in the international students and scholars office, 3241 MU.

Walk-in assistance:

Admissions: 2630 MU (office of new student programs)
Registrar: 2157 Hixson-Lied Building

Admissions' Soultz Family Visitors Center on the MU south ground floor, normally a candidate for an admissions walk-in center, is closed spring semester for remodeling. Beginning Jan. 18, the MU Gold Room will serve as a temporary location for prospective student campus visits.

Admissions staff who process applications will have temporary offices on the ground level of Student Services Building. Admissions leaders and Doering also will have offices in Hixson-Lied.

Office and individual phone numbers won't change, she said.

Student services continue

Because there isn't room for all displaced employees, Doering said some desk-sharing will be necessary, and employees will rotate between on-campus and remote work. But, she emphasized the services students need -- transcript, enrollment verification, veteran certification, records, graduation and commencement, tuition and fees -- will be available at the Hixson-Lied second floor location. Registrar staff who provide other services -- degree audits or course offerings, for example -- can be reached by phone or email.

"Students will be served well in these temporary offices," Doering said. "So many of our registrar and admissions services are available online, but we want to meet the on-site demand, too. We won't compromise any services."

The damage

An estimated 1,500 gallons of water flowed from the broken pipe in the short time before Ames firefighters arrived and turned off water to the building Jan. 3. At 4 a.m., ISU custodial staff got to work removing excess water and by 6:30 a.m. the first ServiceMaster cleanup crew had arrived.

In the week since the water leak, Doering said ServiceMaster crews have dried and cleaned the affected areas of the building, and employees were able to remove personal items from their workspaces. Demolition of damaged building materials has started.

Depending on the floor, the restoration phase could include replacing flooring, sub-floors, drywall and ceilings. The elevator isn't operational and repairs could take up to six months. ISU leaders anticipate receiving, by week's end, a summary of the reconstruction phases and the scope of work to be completed.

The shortage of building materials likely will create a lull before reconstruction begins, but Doering said that also provides a window to prioritize building areas and work to be completed. Optimally, staff might return to their workspaces during the semester as areas of Enrollment Services Center become available.

"We'll continue to evaluate when it makes the best sense -- for our campus partners and our students -- to move back in full or move back partially."