Wednesday, January 12, 2005

One way to lose a day heading into the semester

A picture of my flooded office.Around 10:00, colleague E. steps in to ask if anybody already knows about the water that's pouring out of the housekeeping closet in the hallway just outside our office suite.!

After poking my head out the door, wow, that really was a lot of water. Not overflowing sink kind of water. A-geyser-is-spouting-off-behind-this-door kind of water.

"We need to get Facilities up here fast," say I. E. disappears to find something. Colleague J. runs to call for help; can't find number.

I open said closet door to investigate.

It turns out that the door was the only thing holding back the sea. Knee high water gushes out, and I quickly slam door shut again. Now the water has really spread, and is headed for J.'s office. E. shows up with a roll of paper towels. I think I'm the first one to realize that we were well past that point.

Frantically, we run to J.'s office to get all computers and other possessions up off the floor. By the time we complete that, the water is taking over my office. We just get the surge protectors and the Dell up off the floor in my office, and it's seeping into E.'s office, and the (gasp!) video editing lab. In each room, we're just staying a few inches ahead of the advancing water line. Out in the hall I know the water is advancing down the hallway into other offices and the public computing lab. And also...

THE CAMPUS DATA CENTER. See also: machine room, server room, nerve center, life-giving source of our electronic lives.

In the few minutes that it took for the rescue team to arrive, most of the first floor of Beardsley Hall was covered by an inch or three of water. Rusty water.

A surprisingly young water heater in the closet suffered "catastrophic failure." How does a water heater do that when it's only a few years old?

Bigger question: what is a water heater doing in the closet adjacent to THE CAMPUS DATA CENTER? The newly remodeled data center.

Well amazingly, they had the water out in about 90 minutes, but the offices are being cooled and blown dry overnight. We moved our staff meeting to the coffee bar. Water in the video editing lab is not advised.The sub-60 temperature and noise in my office gave me a good excuse to make some rounds to faculty and library offices. Then hopped onto the wireless network to get some work done until another faculty member could find me for a late-afternoon meeting.

I know I have an interrupt-driven workplace, but this is really something on a different level.

As a humorous sidenote, the architect who designed our space remodel last year was in just the day before with a photographer to take shots for the portfolio. Could her timing have been any luckier?

My Dell needed a new power supply, which is the only computer casualty that we know of. Luckily, there's an authorized repair shop down the hall. (So spoiled!)

It has also been reported that my internal censors may have slipped for a few seconds at one point, so I apologize to anybody who was within earshot.


Blogger Megan said...

Bigger question: what is a water heater doing in the closet adjacent to THE CAMPUS DATA CENTER? The newly remodeled data center.My thoughts exactly! Did anyone call the architect to tell her yet?

9:23 AM  
Blogger EB said...

In fairness to her, the water heater has always been in this location. That closet was not in her scope of work.

College is talking about installing a drain there in the short term. Long-term, they'll move the heater to a less risky location.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Okay, I feel better about the architect now. Nice photos.

3:47 PM  
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