Kresge Library to reopen February 8 after flooding, some areas still inaccessible

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Kresge Library to reopen February 8 after flooding, some areas still inaccessible

Taylor Crumley, Staff Reporter

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The record-setting freezing temperatures that have made their way across the midwest this past week have done more than just shut down Oakland University’s campus and cancelled classes for three days.

While Kresge Library has remained vacant from studying students, the quiet was interrupted by the sounds of dripping water coming from the ceiling of the first floor of the building.

A pipe burst on the main floor early Friday morning has caused Kresge to flood.

“A fire suppression water line froze overnight and broke, which caused the flooding,” said Oakland University Police Department Chief Mark Gordon. “For unknown reasons, the area where the pipe broke did not have adequate heat, and with the recent extremely cold temperatures, the water line froze.”

OUPD sent out an alert to students and faculty of the issue around 5 a.m. on Friday.

Considering the pipe burst overnight, it was not known about until hours later, which caused standing water to accumulate in the building. According to The Oakland Press, puddles were found on the second floor and the basement has over an inch of standing water.

The flooding began in Frankie’s Café, located to the right of the entrance on the main level of Kresge. Many debris were found along with parts of ceiling tiles across the floor of the café.

Since then, the pipe has been repaired by OU Facilities Management and cleanup is underway for the library, the first floor basement and second floor entry level being the most impacted. Gordon said they are working with a variety of contractors on the cleanup and will continue working through the weekend.

The extent of the damage is still being evaluated, according to Dean of University Libraries Stephen Weiter.

“Cleaning the library, drying the carpets and floors, and replacing ceiling tiles is underway,” Weiter said. “We do not expect to open before Monday, but the situation is fluid and we are assessing things as we go.”

According to Gordon, it is currently unknown how long the cleanup of will take.

An email update was sent out to students and faculty later Friday afternoon stating that the lower levels of the library may be subject to longterm closure while restoration processes take place.

“We will do everything we can to open as soon as it is safe to do so, and to keep the campus updated on our status,” Weiter said.

However, OU was not the only campus affected by a broken water pipe from the recent frigid temperatures. Wayne State University’s Engineering building also flooded Friday morning as a result of the same issue.

There were no students or faculty in the building when the incident occurred. Most of the books in Kresge were spared from any water damage.

Oakland Community College has stated they will open up their library’s doors to OU students to use until Kresge is reopened. Additionally, university officials have recommended the Educational Resources Lab, located in Pawley Hall, and the Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills Public Libraries as alternative study locations.

To stay updated on the repairs of Kresge and when it will reopen, visit

Update: University officials have confirmed that Kresge will reopen Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8 a.m. and will remain open through midnight. Beginning Friday, Feb. 8, Kresge will be open daily from 7:30 a.m. to midnight until the end of winter break on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Several areas of Kresge, including Frankie’s Café, some meeting and study rooms, and the entire lower floor, are still currently inaccessible. Other resources, including the Archives and Special Collections, as well as the Makerspace, will have limited availability until further notice. Kresge will be able to resume 24-hour operations once all areas impacted by the flooding are deemed safe for public use

Updates contributed by Trevor Tyle, Life & Arts Editor.