Davis Centre flooded due to the extreme weather

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With only two weeks into 2018, this winter has already made a comeback from last year’s mild temperatures with what seems like some of its fiercest winds and brutal colds. It’s safe to say that many were unprepared. Clearly, the William G. Davis Computer Research Centre (DC), wasn’t an exception to its wrath either.

At the beginning of term, the building was flooded, allegedly due to the extreme freezing of the pipes when the thermostats were lowered for the winter break. Afterwards, they were turned back on, only to melt the ice and open the floodgates. By Jan. 2, a lecture hall was reportedly filled with eight feet of water.

Despite the menacing cold reaching a “feels like” temperature of nearly -30 degrees Celsius, there have been surprising bouts of warmth. One of which, includes later this week, as it’s expected to become six degrees Celsius this Sunday, Jan. 20 in Waterloo, according to The Weather Network.

Due to these abrupt weather changes, DC wasn’t the only location where flooding may be a concern.  As such, there is currently a flood watch for the southern Grand River watershed. According to the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), “discharges from the Belwood and Conestogo Reservoirs were increased Saturday morning to release water that was stored from the recent rain and snowmelt. This will result in higher river flows in the central and lower Grand River and the lower Conestogo River through the week.”

Currently, a flood warning has been issued for the low-level bridge area above St. Jacobs in the Township of Woolwich. There remains a flood watch for “the Grand River from Brantford to Lake Erie and the Nith River below Ayr.” This includes the County of Brant and Six Nations, City of Brantford, and the City of Cambridge.

In addition to the flooding, ice jams, which are “large [volumes] of broken ice in the river,” also pose as potential hazards. They rapidly form and melt in the river, which causes sudden increases in water in certain locations. The public is advised to keep from ice covered rivers as it is unpredictable and unsafe.

But the cold isn’t all for nought. The GRCA announced that on Jan. 6, six parks have opened for traditional winter activities — something seemingly inexistent last year. Beginning that day, Waterloo’s Laurel Creek Park has been open exclusively on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will occasionally have rentals for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing equipment, along with Shade’s Mills and Pinehurst Lake. Additionally, Rockwood and Belwood Lake are offering activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Regardless, remember to make or grab a hot drink and stay warm indoors this semester.

Correction: On New Year’s Day of 2018, the lecture theatre in room 1350 of the William G. Davis Computer Research Centre, otherwise known as DC, was flooded with water.

In a statement from Harry Bakker, the executive director of the University of Waterloo’s Plant Operations, he wrote that “an outdoor air damper had not fully closed during the holiday period, allowing outdoor air leakage into the room … causing the water standing in the piping to freeze, cracking the fire hose valve.”

As the heat in DC was turned back on, the frozen water thawed and proceeded to flood the room. Plant Operations staff arrived to mitigate the situation, only to be greeted by nearly eight feet of water. To aid in the process of water removal, a restoration company was recruited.

Bakker tells Imprint that, “remediation work is underway to replace the lecture theatre’s water-damaged carpeting, seating, electrical, and video projections systems.” 

However, this does allow for the technology in the theatre to be upgraded.

Room 1350 is scheduled to reopen by next term, but for now, classes will continue to take place in their temporary locations.

“We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused and would like to thank everyone for their ongoing understanding and continued patience as we remediate and upgrade Room DC 1350,” Bakker said.