Grace Hall face lift causes wrinkles

By Harold William Halbert
January 31, 2002

Katie Reing

Buckets and trashcans line the hallways and plastic bags are tied to the ceilings in an attempt to catch any water from the many leaks inside Grace Hall. These are just some of the eyesores that have been noticeable on campus since the beginning of the roof renovation to the old building. All this, not to mention the road blockades and the hassle of having to drive from the Dixon Center all the way past the cafeteria, Woodcrest and the library just to get to the apartments or the other side of campus. So what exactly is the story about this ongoing project?

According to Howard Holden, director of facilities, “The roof project has been delayed due to a manufacturing glitch with the tiles. They are supposed to fit together like pieces of a puzzle, but the first shipment we received had problems. We sent them back and received new tiles, but it set us back 40 days.” Holden said that the weather has also had an impact on the roof renovation since winter, of course, is not the best time for projects such as these. When the recent snow that we had melted, the water found leaks that were already present in the roof.

All of these leaks caused problems and at the very least inconveniences for most of the offices that call Grace Hall home. Debbie Speck, secretary in the admissions office, said, “Two tiles fell from the ceiling onto the ambassador’s desk in the front office. The chairs were soaking wet and we had to have them cleaned. It’s such a big burden and the clean up really fell on me. A tile also fell on a box of publications that we were going to give to prospective students.” The admissions office wasn’t the only office to have problems.

Across the hall, Enrollment Operations Manager Angela DiLella, said, “We have a brand new office and now we have water damage everywhere including the ceiling and the walls. We also had several college publications damaged or destroyed.” There are plastic bags still hanging from the ceiling in this office catching leaks before they have a chance to rain on more office supplies or even an unfortunate person who happened to be walking underneath a leak. “It’s a surprise every morning when we come in,” DiLella said.

The registrar’s office, perhaps the most ill-fated office, has at least 10 tiles missing in its ceiling and a boarded up skylight. A bucket still sits in the corner catching water from a hose dangling from up above. This bucket is dry while other parts of the office are drenched. Registrar Ray Matzelle said, “We had graduation audit papers laid out in the assistant registrar’s office one night and 80 percent of the documents have severe water damage now. We had to start covering up everything in the office including students’ permanent files.” To say the least, the leaky roof has been an inconvenience for everyone.

Holden said, “There are several parts to a roof. There is the sloped part that everyone sees, which would be where the tiles are. Underneath that is a flat, internal roof, a sort of rubber roof, that cannot be completed until the tile is put in place. With the workers walking back and forth and the delay with the tiles, the holes and leaks that were there before, became worse. The roofing company is trying to fix the leaks as soon as they become aware of them.” Holden says that they hope to have the roof completed by early spring and that it will enhance the appearance of the entire building. “The chosen roof will cost a little more up front, but in the long run it will be more cost effective,” Holden said.

There is one good thing that came out of all the leaks, however. DiLella says that in the enrollment operations office, it rained so much that they haven’t had to worry about watering their plants for quite awhile.

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Harold William Halbert

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