Oak View ceiling collapse narrowly misses freshman

By Kayla Varicalli

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A routine walk to Oak View Hall’s Honor College for Colleen Elsbernd, a freshman biology major, was interrupted when the ceiling collapsed four feet in front of her.

Yesterday, frigid temperatures led to pipe bursts in both the Dodge Hall of Engineering and Oak View Hall. While no one was near the Dodge Hall break, the pipe burst in Oak View Hall lead to the collapse of the building entrance’s ceiling, narrowly missing Elsbernd.

“I was absolutely shocked,” she said. “It occurred to me later that I actually could have been seriously injured or even killed if I was even 10 seconds quicker with all of the electrical current in the wires reacting with the water.”

The pipe leading to the second floor of Oak View Hall began leaking due to the bitter weather conditions, which soon lead to the pipe and ceiling’s demise around noon.

No students or faculty were injured in either incident.

A second pipe burst occurred later in the day in the Dodge Hall of Engineering resulted in class cancellations for a remainder of the evening. Both breaks were fixed overnight and all classes resumed this morning as scheduled.

While older construction can be blamed for the Dodge Hall incident, Oak View is one of campus’ newest buildings, completed on August 14, 2014. 

The pipe bursts were a reminder that newly-built buildings are not indestructible. This past December, the recently-opened Engineering Building lost a side of the entrance due to high winds.

Though weather-related building problems will be unexpected, OU will remain prepared, according to OU’s Director of Media Relations Brian Bierley.

“We always have and will continue to do everything we can to provide safety on campus,” Bierley said. “Even though it was unanticipated, we fix things as soon as they happen.”