Repairs in the Apartments Raise Questions of the Buildings’ Longevity
By Kyle Crowell
NCU Facilities recently replaced cracked pipes that had been leaking into the basements of the Orfield 810 and 923 Apartments for some time. The leaking in 923 had been going on for a while, but had recently gotten exponentially worse; This prompted what is hopefully a longer-term fix from facilities management. This larger fix however is still considered a “test to buy some more time”, according to Facilities Management Associate Director Jordan Hurst.
This test included digging out around where the pipes in question enter the 810 and 923 buildings, and back filling the hole with rock. This suggestion was courtesy of Brian Jastram, who works as a Monitoring and Instrumentation Specialist for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. MWMO helps “to protect and improve water quality, habitat and natural resources in an urban watershed that drains directly into the Mississippi River.”
Jastram was consulted on how to take care of the situation and suggested the rock-filling option to help disperse the water that had been collecting above and just below the surface. This allows it to drain out of the area faster. The large collections of water caused the original leaking and was the culprit behind the cracked pipes.
Hopefully the pipes will last a few more years as a result of this strategy. Many of the repairs in the Orfield’s in recent years have been “Intentionally budget-minded”, Hurst explained, “because the buildings won’t be there in the long term.” While there are no immediate plans to tear down any of the Orfield Buildings, they are not in the campus’s long-term masterplan. The Orfield Buildings have been in use for over 100 years and, over the decades, have seen numerous repairs that make upkeep more difficult.
Residents can breathe easy knowing their apartments will not be coming down in the immediate future. There is no date set to tear them down; however, the Orfield buildings’ days are numbered.