Water main break shuts down FM

The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees met at the Holiday Inn on Thursday after the college was shut down for the day due to a water main break. The campus reopened today. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees conducted their regular meeting at the Holiday Inn on Thursday after the college was shut down for the day due to a water main break.

Acting President Greg Truckenmiller reported to the board on Thursday that second shift maintenance crews discovered a pool of water on campus grounds on Wednesday night that they soon determined was caused by a water main break at the front of the campus requiring water to be shut off to the entire college until repairs were complete.

All day and evening classes and activities were canceled on Thursday, the last day of the semester for Thursday classes. Since the break was discovered on Wednesday, Truckenmiller said Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Diana Putnam worked to reschedule classes and exams to ensure students would complete required coursework.

“Diana has been working feverishly since last evening rescheduling today’s classes and exams over course of the next few days so that students will have the opportunity to finish the semester and get the grades that they’ve earned rather than partially finishing their courses,” Truckenmiller said thanking Putnam.

Maintenance crews were able to repair the water main break on Thursday with assistance from an excavation company that performed digging to access the line roughly nine feet below ground and recovered the hole once the work was complete.

Truckenmiller said staff had on hand the equipment and parts necessary to repair the broken water main, one of the campus’ original lines that are more than 50 years old.

“Over the years, because of the age of the lines we’ve had water main breaks. It’s been actually probably a couple years since we last had a rupture, but it’s inevitable, especially when you have these changing hot, cold temperatures,” Truckenmiller said.

Repairs to the water main were complete on Thursday, but Truckenmiller said after the system was repressurized and water was turned back on a valve in the Student Welcome Center became stuck in the open position causing a urinal to overflow, covering carpeted floors throughout the building with a few inches of water before it was discovered after approximately 45 minutes.

“Service Master is there as we speak cleaning out water and we can assess the rest of the damage when it’s appropriate to do so tomorrow, but these things happen, particularly when you have a building plant that is as old as ours. It underscores the need for preventive maintenance and continued investment in capital projects making sure that the campus is modernized and operational,” Truckenmiller said.

While the Student Welcome Center will remain closed today, Truckenmiller said the college would resume normal services today for the final day of classes of the fall semester. Classes that were expected to conclude on Thursday have been rescheduled to next week on Wednesday. All other classes, exams and final semester work will be held at the regularly scheduled time.

“It’s all hands on deck right now, the facilities crew are there on campus making sure everything is cleaned up and ready to go for tomorrow,” Truckenmiller said thanking maintenance staff for their efforts.

Although the bulk of the work was completed by college staff in-house, Truckenmiller said FMCC will submit an insurance claim to cover the cost of work performed by outside contractors in relation to the water main break and flooding in the Student Welcome Center.

“Really impressed with the staff that we have and the response that they were able to put forward,” Truckenmiller said. “We have a lot of the right plans and procedures in place and tools to help us get the job done.”