The sight of water buckets on the floor of the Media Arts Center, or MAC, is enough to get the attention of many users of the building and raises the question, what is going on with the roof?
The MAC roof, with its flat construction, holds a great deal in common with the other roofs visible around the campus, and Keene as a whole.
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According to Nicaela Crawford’s article for the San Francisco Chronicle, “Both flat and pitched roofs require regular maintenance.However, although pitched roofs may be more difficult to clean and inspect, due to the sloped structure, flat roofs often require more maintenance throughout the life of the roof.”
It is not surprising then that older flat roofs, such as that of the Media Arts Center, spring leaks in times when there are large amounts of precipitation.
With the amount of expensive technology in the MAC, water leaks can be a costly and tricky problem to handle.
The job of tackling the leaky roofs falls to Colin Burdick, construction clerk of the Physical Plant, who receives work orders on a case-by-case basis to deal with the leaks.
When asked about leaks in potentially costly areas like computer labs are dealt with Burdick replied, “Yeah those I typically want to get to quickly. When I go over there to investigate, if there’s anything under there like a computer monitor, I’ll get it out of the way so it doesn’t get ruined.”
With a new MAC to be built in the future, exactly when is unknown, the replacement of the current roof would end up becoming sunk cost, so vigilant maintenance of leaks seems to be the most cost effective solution.
In regards to how the repairs are carried out, Burdick said, “We’ll get up there and pretty much we’ll just find the area causing the problem, branch out from there sometimes if we don’t find anything directly underneath it. Throw some patches on or if we need to re-flash curbs, which we’ve been doing quite often.”
Though the repairs are not a permanent solution, they are being done in a timely manner to prevent the water from becoming too costly.
When asked about the responsiveness of the maintenance crews, Cheryl Martin, administrative assistant of Arts and Humanities said, “They have been extremely responsive, so as soon as an MRO, or Maintenance Request Order, goes in they are here quickly, so the response time, even in off hours during the regular work day of say 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. there is someone where to address issues that come up, and at night even.”
Most of these repairs end up being replaced tiles and roof patches according to Burdick. The turn around for Burdick and his team’s repairs is “Usually a couple days… If it’s the morning I’m usually there by the afternoon depending on the severity of the leak.”
The combination of vigilance in locating, reporting, and fixing leaks will likely be the best defense against any damage to equipment, or inconvenience to MAC users.
The leaks themselves are an inconvenience that will likely persist until a new MAC is built, so if you notice any leaks please notify an administrator to get the problem dealt with as quickly as possible.
Colm Craig can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.