Significant repairs were done on a steam leak outside Wu Hall over winter break, according to Sean Gallagher, manager of Facilities Civil Engineering and Construction.
The steam tunnel that runs underneath the bluestone plaza had a relatively small leak that was discovered a few months ago, Gallagher said.
Construction began shortly after winter break and concluded with the complete replacement of the bluestone on Dec. 30.
The hole in the bluestone, which was necessary to allow repairs of the steam leak, was created a few weeks before break began. After proceeding with the investigation to locate the leak, Gallagher said, the construction group covered the hole with plywood and monitored the whole area for safety.
Although there was a clear odor surrounding the construction area, particularly the hole, Gallagher noted that it was not particularly offensive. The odor was similar to that of boiling water, and Gallagher explained that it dissipated quickly.
Some students living in adjacent buildings, though, stated that the odor was in fact quite significant. Aamir Zainulabadeen ’18, a resident of Wilson College, stated that he had been unable to study in the basement of Wu Hall because of the pervasive smell.
Teresa Rufin ’17, a resident of 1915 Hall, said that she was not particularly affected by the construction, although it was very noticeable.
"I definitely smelled a weird odor coming from the smoke," Rufin said. "Not from my room, but every time I left the building, and especially so when it rained."
Gallagher described the effects of the small leak, stating that it created extreme heat on the bluestone. He added that when it rained, steam would come off the bluestone, and the temperature of the plaza would reach up to 100 degrees.
Had the leak not been dealt with now, it could have caused significant future damage, Gallagher explained. Over time, the leak would grow in size until it became an increasingly crucial problem. Specifically, the steam would not be condensing quickly enough because of the size of the leak. Eventually, Gallagher said, there would have been steam coming out of the ground, something that could have caused potential harm to passing students.
Although important, repairs were not urgent enough to be necessary while most students were on campus, Gallagher said.Butler College Administrator Robyn Howard added that construction was timed specifically for the break, which was important because nobody knew how significant the repairs would be until construction began.
Gallagher said that there were no plans for similar construction on campus in the near future.
"We typically won't do repairs unless there are emergencies like [the steam leak] during the school year," Gallagher said.
Howard also said that, now that students are back on campus, everything seems to be repaired and completed.
“The dorms are open as usual, so we should be able to continue without any other construction,” she said.