Bins gather water dripping from the ceiling as a result of pipes bursting on the fifth floor of Kehoe Administration Building Sept. 18.
By Kennedy Tavares
The Kehoe Administration Building fell victim to a massive flooding incident caused by a pipe burst on the fifth floor at promptly 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18. This event has left campus officials, students and staff to scramble to keep operations running smoothly.
Kehoe is a 10-story building home to a multitude of campus’ essential administrative offices, including the Admissions office, Financial Services, Student Success and other departments that assist students and faculty with their campus needs.
The offices that have been severely impacted by the flood are Admissions, Academic Affairs, Budget & Financial Reporting Services, Global Education Office, Human Resource Services, Information Technology Services, Payroll Services, Regional Procurement Services, Registrar, Strategic Communications and Marketing and Student Financial Services.
Admissions Assistant Cheryl Jones was one of the staff that was affected by the flooding.
“I was alerted with the rest of the school that morning at 2 a.m. We had to cancel all appointments and high school tours. Because our office line is connected to Zoom, we were able to work from home the next day,” Jones said.
Following the flood, Jones and her department were required to work from home until their department was temporarily relocated to Redcay Hall, an academic building on Monday, Sept. 27.
While some departments were able to get accommodated the next day, the Global Education Office student workers did not share that same fate.
Student employee Adeeb Chowdhury has been out of work since the incident.
“I got an email from my supervisor saying that the buildings flooded and we can’t come in. They’re working from home, but I can’t work from home. Most of my job entails being in person or in the office because I have a lot of office and secretarial duties. So with the building being closed, I can’t work my shifts,” Chowdhury said.
Chowdhury works at the Global Education Office, which handles international admissions, international student services and the study abroad programs. Many student employees working for that department are international students.
“There’s a feeling of frustration from the other students that I work with. Most students from the GEO office are international students. As international students, we can’t work off-campus and we have to get by on-campus jobs and if we don’t have access to that, that’s very damaging to us,” Chowdhury said.
Due to immigration laws, if international students want to pursue a part-time job, it must be on campus in order to maintain their visas.
“A lot of international students rely on these on-campus jobs for money. Since the flood, we haven’t had an office, which means we can’t get paid,” Chowdhury said.
Despite the fact that this level of flooding hasn’t occurred in Kehoe before, there have been numerous warning signs over the past year that have alluded to this fate.
“This is not the first time I’ve seen water problems within the building. I’ve worked in Kehoe for two years – in that time there have been multiple leaks. Last May, there was a big storm and there were multiple spots around the office that began to leak. There was water literally pouring from the ceiling and the water was dirty. They had told us they fixed it and there wouldn’t be as much flooding anymore,” Chowdhury said.
Chowdhury wasn’t the only one who noticed past issues with the building’s plumbing.
Administrative Assistant Bonnie Boadway-Gonyea had to put up a large tarp in order to combat the consistent leaks in her office. According to Cheryl Jones, the tarp was still hung up and being used leading up to the flood.
“The tarp was up in her office for months, and she had several buckets to catch the leaky water,” Jones said.
Heather Haskins, the executive director of strategic communications and marketing, said: “No critical records or documentation were lost. There are no current estimated costs [for the repair of the building] but the emergency costs will be funded by a state fund. No student activities will be affected.”
While some operation has resumed, as of now, the first four stories of Kehoe are still under construction until further notice.
The Admissions office has been moved to Redcay Hall, Registrar is in Ward Hall and Student Financial Services are located in the Angell College Center, right outside the Flynt Commons on the second floor.