Froiland Science Complex has hiccup with heavy rainfall

Rain causes minor damage to Froiland Science Complex


The new Froiland Science Complex has welcomed more than students, as rainfall has also managed to enter its walls.

Frank Hughes, director of facilities at Augustana, said that the heavy rains of Sept. 15 caused some minor leaks in the FSC. The leaks were “not expected to recur,” Hughes said.

Physics professor Eric Wells, who has been coordinating with the Henry Carlson Company during the Froiland’s construction, agreed.

“All buildings leak at some level, at some time, but I think most of these problems were resolved,” Wells said.

According to chemistry professor Barry Eichler, construction ran into delays and the tardy parts were meant to prevent the leaks from happening.

“The section wasn’t done because the parts were back-ordered,” Eichler said.

Specifically, water drains over the entrances to the FSC had not been installed or sealed, causing the leaks.

For students, the leaks were not a major disruption. No classrooms and only a few study areas were affected by the leaks.

“There was a leak in one of the first floor mechanical rooms,” Wells said, adding that only a few study areas and one conference room were affected.

“Leaks primarily, that I’m aware, were over by the east side by the east entrance,” Hughes said.

A prompt response also prevented serious water damage from occurring.

“The ceiling in the study area at the east end of the second floor above the Summit Avenue entrance was just starting to leak when I went to my physics lab at 11 that morning,” senior Liz Renner said, “and when I left lab to go to the bathroom half an hour later, there were already garbage cans and buckets placed in the hallway to catch the rainwater.”

“It’s unfortunate that our brand-new facility took on water damage so soon after it opened, but I was impressed by the speed at which the issue was resolved,” she added.

According to Wells, the construction company was present during the leaks and worked to prevent serious damage.

“We did what we could to mitigate things,” he said.

As a result, the overall damage was minor. Aside from some drywall, no further repairs are expected. Some carpet exhibited water damage, but Wells said that quick clean up made replacement unnecessary.

Repairs to the drywall damaged by the leak are ongoing and were delayed by the dedication of the building last Friday.

“We made some temporary repairs, but I don’t know that we could have done anything faster,” Wells said.

While the Gilbert Science Center had frequent issues with leakage, the Froiland is not expected to have any further issues.

“We had one other time when they were working on the roof, but that was almost to be expected,” Eichler said. “Otherwise it’s been pretty good, considering that the GSC had leaks in it every time it rained. This has been considerably better.”

Wells agreed, saying that while “all buildings leak at some level,” with the sealant on the drains finished, the issue should be resolved.

The financial costs of the leaks will not fall to Augustana as the building is not yet considered finished.

“The building is still very much under construction,” Eichler said. “We did what was necessary to get students in classes in the new building.”

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