MADISON (WKOW) – A pipe burst early Sunday morning in Vilas Hall at UW-Madison, sending water into classrooms and offices.
Journalism professor Mike Wagner was among those whose offices were affected. He saw his waterlogged office through pictures his colleagues took before they had to leave the building due to safety concerns.
“It looks like it was probably an inch and a half or two inches deep,” he said. Among the damaged items in his office appeared to be a wooden table that his father acquired when in the military in Korea.
“Seeing some of the pictures of (my colleagues’) offices is just heartbreaking,” he said. “You see pictures their kids have drawn… soaked and presumably ruined.”
University officials say the pipe broke between the 6th and 7th floors, with water pouring out for some time before a fire alarm was finally tripped.
“Our estimate is probably a couple of hours,” said university spokesperson Meredith McGlone. “Obviously, a lot of water had been released before it was detected.”
Vilas Hall also houses Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television. University officials say they’re both still operating.
Most people, however, can’t get in, including the staff of the student newspaper The Daily Cardinal.
“Typically on Sundays, we have our news pitch at 4,” said editor-in-chief Sammy Gibbons. “Our news team is in the office writing stories, and people come in and lay out pages.”
But for now, Gibbons’ office is a coffee shop north of campus.
“Google Docs is our best friend,” she said. “Lots of Facebook messages.”
Classes scheduled to be in Vilas Hall have been relocated for at least Monday and Tuesday as crews continue to clean up. Students should receive an email from the university registrar with updated locations.
The Chemistry Building is also closed and has been since Friday when a water main burst there.