Water break closes four LU buildings

Published 11:54 am Thursday, December 10, 2015

A 10-inch water main break in Farmville flooded the ground floor of Bedford Hall at Longwood University and temporarily closed Bedford, Wygal, Greenwood Library and the communications studies building Tuesday.

The Race Street water line break affected the buildings near Bedford because power and water was disconnected from a portion of campus due to the incident, according to Longwood spokesman Matt McWilliams.

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The incident was reported during the second day of Longwood’s week-long exam period.

The break in the line also affected Stubbs Residence Hall, which had no water on Tuesday morning, according to an email sent to students from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Tim Pierson.

Machines were used Tuesday night to pull moisture out of Bedford Hall after the morning water main break.

Machines were used Tuesday night to pull moisture out of Bedford Hall after the morning water main break.

Both Bedford and Wygal remained closed Wednesday morning, McWilliams said. “They’re working to restore everything to both buildings.”

“We’ve got a water main that broke on Race Street. It’s flooded the building, the first floor of the building,” Town Manager Gerald Spates said early Tuesday morning.

A split in the pipe caused massive amounts of water to leak into the street and Bedford Hall. Spates said “probably about 10 to 12-feet” of water line would need to be replaced at the break. Work continued through Tuesday night.

The recently built Bedford Hall houses Longwood’s the art and graphic and animation design programs.

Spates said on Tuesday morning there was “several inches” of water on the ground floor of the building, located on Race Street on Longwood’s main campus.

“The only building that had any water in it … was Bedford,” McWilliams said. He said that damage assessments were still being conducted. “Most of the water was contained in the basement. There was some water that got onto the ground floor. There is some equipment for various disciplines in there and we’re still assessing the damage. The cleanup is still continuing,” he said.

Spates couldn’t say what caused the break. “It’s just cold weather. It happens all the time … It’s just like plumbing at your house. We’ve got miles and miles of pipes and you’re going to have issues from time to time. It happens everywhere, especially when you get temperature changes.”

Spates said he didn’t think the break had to do with the increased pressure on the lines from the new water tank.

“I’m sure it’s pretty significant,” he said of the potential damage caused by the water to Bedford Hall. “And it’s unfortunate that it happened, but there’s no way to prevent it. Those pipes that are there through the college are fairly new. They’re not new-new but they’re not that old.”

“It’s just isolated in this one block of Race Street,” Spates said.

“We didn’t have to postpone any exams, so that’s good. We relocated the exams that were scheduled for those buildings,” McWilliams said.

Race Street at Vine Street between Franklin and Redford streets will be closed through Friday, Spates said.