Campus safety officers responded to reports of vandalism at the Bergsaker construction site on the morning of Oct. 10, the Sunday of Viking Days weekend.
After arriving at the scene at 10:30 a.m., officers found two broken windows on the north side of Bergsaker, one on the first floor and one in the stairwell, according to Rick Tupper, associate vice president for campus safety and logistics.
Tupper said the perpetrators broke open the first floor window, tore the screen and entered the building before throwing a brick from the west stairwell. He said nothing else in the building had been damaged or stolen.
“They didn’t do a ton of damage,” said Andrea Smith, director of project management and facility services. “I think they really just wanted to get in and look around.”
Tupper said that while vandalism is a concern, campus safety is usually on high alert on construction sites because of “professional thieves” who break into construction sites in order to steal tools and equipment of high value. After the incident, campus safety checked with the construction company, who said they were not missing any of their items.
“Unfortunately construction sites draw people, and not for good reasons,” Tupper said. “So we try to pay more attention to them.”
To prevent break-ins and other activity, there is a fence around the south side of Bergsaker’s construction site, where Smith said a bulk of the construction is located. The north side of the building, which was the site of the vandalism, was not covered by a fence. Tupper said there are no current plans to place a fence around the entire building.
The broken windows have since been replaced, and Smith said they have put “mitigating factors” in place in the wake of the broken windows.
The first floor windows have been reinforced and would have to be broken “even worse” in order for anyone to get in. Additionally, the doors of Bergsaker are locked whenever the construction site is closed.
Smith said there have not been any delays to construction as a result of the vandalism.
New windows for all of Bergsaker could be a reality depending on how the construction market evolves throughout the renovation, Smith said. Both material and labor costs for construction have gone up recently, and new windows will rely on whether the university has to use their “contingency budget” to compensate for rising costs or other unexpected expenses.
Both Tupper and Smith said the vandalism was likely an isolated event and don’t anticipate any further activity related to the October incident.
Tupper said campus safety will continue monitoring the construction sites and remain on high alert for curious students or equipment thieves.