Water pipes burst from cold temperatures, several buildings undergoing repairs

Extreme weather during winter break caused flooding and water damage to several academic buildings, and classes held in Stevenson Center and Wilson Hall were relocated until the damages are repaired.


Ophelia Lu

Stevenson Center 4327 is undergoing repairs for water damage experienced over winter break, as photographed on Jan. 10, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Ophelia Lu)

Brina Ratangee, Deputy News Editor

Severe winter weather caused water pipes to freeze in several campus buildings during the break. Though resulting water damage was “minimal” according to the Jan. 6 university press release, classes scheduled to take place in Stevenson Center, among others, have been relocated until the buildings are repaired. 

According to the press release, Vanderbilt Law School was among the buildings that experienced the most severe water damage. 

“The dedicated work of Vanderbilt staff members helped the university prepare the campus and prevent more flooding and damage,” the announcement reads. “Staff worked diligently through the holidays to make campus the best it can be to welcome students, faculty and staff for the start of the semester.”

Lars Plate, assistant professor of chemistry and biological sciences, discussed the damage to his regular classroom in Stevenson Center in a Jan. 6 email to his biochemistry (BSCI 2520) students. 

“Our regular lecture hall (SC4309) got flooded on Christmas Eve due to a malfunctioning sprinkler pipe in the Organic Chemistry labs on the 5th floor of Stevenson 7,” Plate wrote in the email. “The lecture hall is still undergoing repairs but will hopefully be ready by the 2nd week of the semester.”

In the meantime, the class will convene at the Blair School of Music. Introductory physics courses were similarly moved to Commons.

Sophomore and BSCI 2520 student Saksham Saksena said the relocation is “inconvenient” and that the new room is incompatible with student needs.

“The move to Blair is definitely inconvenient for me because I live in Zeppos, and the room is definitely not suitable for a STEM class as it doesn’t have any desks,” Saksena said. “But I understand that this room was probably one of the only rooms available for such a large class.”

Sophomore Zoe Barron said her ANTH 3144 course was similarly moved from Wilson Hall to the University Club

“The change in my case is actually fantastic because the University Club has much more natural light, making it easier to focus there,” Barron said.

Residential advisor and junior Jonas Accam said McTyeire and McGill Halls were the only residential halls affected by water damage. Accam was on campus during the incident.

McGill Hall’s water leak was caused by a student’s failure to close their windows,” Accam said. “I didn’t experience or learn about any other leak or flood situation during the break.”

Vanderbilt Facilities did not respond to The Hustler’s inquiry about which, if any, other academic and residential buildings were damaged.