Burst pipe shuts down dining facilities

A burst pipe on the northeast side of Jordan Hall dampened the daily routine for some faculty, staff and students last Thursday.

Interim Vice President for Operations Gerald Carlson said workers struck a fire hydrant Nov. 10 while using a lift to hang banners for last weekend’s presidential inauguration.

The fire hydrant ruptured a water main beneath the sidewalk, which flooded the area. This flood forced pedestrian traffic to divert around the area and also disrupted the flow of water to Atherton Union, home of the Market Place and Starbucks.

“We immediately called the water company so they could shut off the water supply until the break could be repaired,” Carlson said. “The same line feeding the fire hydrant fed Atherton Union.”

Carlson said Atherton was without water until approximately 6:30 p.m.

The lack of water forced Aramark to make adjustments to meal services.

“[Dining services] had to make arrangements to accommodate our guests during the meal periods,”said Stacey Puck, director of dining services. “We set up temporary beverage stations at the Market Place at Atherton since the fountain machines were not operable.”

Puck said that dining services has contingency plans for situations when dining services can’t operate as normal due to unforeseeable circumstances, such as water disruption or weather events.

“During the snowstorms earlier this year, dining services personnel were some of the only staff members on campus,” Puck said.

“Members of our management team were able to arrive to campus and went through with what staff could get to campus. We then had to centralize all of our dining through the Market Place.”

These sudden changes are not always convenient or satisfying for students and staff, though. Students looking for a caffeine fix Thursday afternoon found that Starbucks was not selling hot beverages.

“It was a really cold day, so we were kind of disappointed,” freshman Michelle Quenon said.

Freshman Christina Perry said although she was disappointed, she wasn’t too upset about it.

“Things like this happen, and we understand that,” Perry said.

It is this understanding that Puck said she and the dining services team are thankful for.

“We appreciate students’ understanding and patience when something like this happens that is beyond our control,” Puck said.

The water main break was repaired by Thursday evening, and dining services, including Starbucks, have since resumed normal operations.

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