Wagoner, Bergsaker residents experience problems

Wagoner, Bergsaker residents experience problems
The newly built Wagoner Hall has problems with water leaking. Photo by Sydney Denekamp.

Since moving in, residents of the newly built Wagoner Hall and the renovated Bergsaker Hall have reported problems with the buildings.

While these buildings were expected to be ready for residents, students have reported numerous electrical problems in Bergsaker and ceiling leaks in Wagoner. According to Rick Tupper, the associate vice president for campus safety and logistics, this is just the nature of new buildings.

“When you go through a remodel or a new build, they present their own issues,” Tupper said. “Throughout the summer, they tested the systems, but really you don’t have a real test until everybody is in and the system is fully taxed.”

Bergsaker Hall has had issues with a tripped fuse due to crossed wires.

“For Bergsaker, the first time we noticed a significant issue, outside of breakers tripping, was when the main breaker tripped, which was about a week before move in,” Whitney Jibben, assistant director of facility services, said.

Crews were brought in to address the situation, but when students filled the rooms and plugged in electronics in outlets, the breakers on each floor were strained.

Maintenance proceeded with repairs as requested by residents. Depending on the circumstance, Augustana electrical crews were able to resolve some issues. Mortenson Company, which led the construction, was also on standby for any broader issues pertaining to the renovation.

As for Wagoner Hall, ceiling leaks and damage occurred during the beginning of the semester due to shower issues.

According to Jibben, the leaks were caused by faulty sealing gaskets on the drains of showers. Jibben said the gaskets were too small to fit between the pipes and the shower drain, resulting in a gap.

As the showers were used, water would leak down into the ceiling tiles of the floors below, which eventually caused some foam ceiling tiles to get too damp and collapse.

On Friday, Sept. 9, campus safety and maintenance crews responded to a report of fallen ceiling tiles in one of the entryways of Wagoner Hall, which was the result of water damage. No one was injured.

The following Monday, maintenance staff investigated the damage for Mortenson to evaluate and create a reasonable response to the issue.

Augustana Housing and Mortenson Company coordinated times for crews to inspect each floor. Beginning with the third floor, the crews adjusted each restroom’s drains, regardless of if there were reports of leaking or not.

At the request of the housing department, the contractors didn’t start work until 10 a.m. to allow time for students to get ready for the day.

Xavier Carbonneau, a sophomore Viking Advisor on the second floor of Wagoner Hall, has informed students about the leaking as well as informing students for when maintenance will be on their floor as to avoid surprises.

“The plan now is to do a lot of the heavy work like replacing the sheetrock and light cans around shower ceilings that have been leaked into over fall break when residents are gone,” Carbonneau said. “Sealing the floors is pretty quick and hasn’t been an issue for most residents. Residents are usually only unable to use their shower for a day or two during and after repairs.”

As campus renovation continues with Solberg Hall, Tupper said Augustana staff and Mortenson crews now have a general idea of potential issues for prior to occupation in fall 2023, but a majority of the issues may not come to light until students occupy the building.