Last month’s water main break within Sibley Hall did not alarm or even surprise Plattsburgh State Maintenance and Operations Coordinator Patrick Farrell.

On Jan. 31, a water main break was discovered around 7 a.m. in Sibley Hall due to a shear to the pipe. 

The cause of the shear is unknown to Farrell and the rest of the maintenance staff, Farrell said that there is no way to identify the precise cause of a pipe line break.

The pipe was repaired immediately the following morning. 

This break has not been the first during this academic year however. There have been five pipe incidents in this academic year alone. 

This does not include a pipeline incident within Whiteface Hall that occurred during the summer break.

“This college was built around the ‘60s and the pipes are around 100 years old,” Farrell said. “They could be caused by rocks, or cars could damage  the underground pipes by driving over them.”

Despite PSUC’s track record this year, Farrell is not worried about future incidents caused by pipe damage.

“Am I worried that all the [pipe] lines are going to start breaking? No,” Farrell said “ The pipes are thick and durable.”

Sibley Hall was left without water and restroom use for the remainder of the day of the break. 

PSUC Lecturer Katheryn Alton was teaching a three hour class during the water shutdown and was affected more than the students. 

Alton is 19-weeks pregnant and cannot go without water or bathroom use for an extended amount of time.

“As a pregnant woman, I need to drink water and go to the bathroom,” Alton said. “It was a disruption in my work day because I’m not used to walking to another building for water.”

Alton was also worried about her students given the extended class time.

“I was thinking about the students. It’s a three-hour class, so they should have access to a bathroom.”

Alton also stated that it is understandable for PSUC to not order a renovation immediately. 

She believes a complete upgrade to the pipelines wouldn’t be feasible given the current budget.

Daycare workers were prepared for the water shutdown and had several procedures in place for the children.

“We notified the parents right away,” Child Care Center Director Sally Girard said. “Everyone was at ease because the parents trust us with their children.”

Girard and the rest of the Child Care Center faculty turned the shutdown into a learning experience for the children while Chartwells dining service on campus provided them with drinking water.

“The children who were three or four did not panic because they didn’t know what was going on,” Girard said. “For the older kids, we showed them where the equipment was, so they could understand why there was no water. Early childhood educators are creative.”

Farrell is not at all worried for the pipelines of PSUC. 

He stated they will be upgraded along with the renovations occurring around campus.

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