Water damage affects multiple buildings on campus

The ceiling on the third floor in a Bibb Graves classroom collapsed from water damaged caused by an opening near the roof. Some classes have been moved to other parts of campus until the damage is fixed. 

Several buildings on UNA’s campus have water damage that have caused classes to be displaced from their normal meeting places and members of sororities concerned about the conditions of their dormitories.

Bibb Graves

Ansley Quiros, a history professor, said her class has been displaced due to a collapsed ceiling in one of the classrooms on the third floor of the building.

Michael Gautney, assistant vice president for facilities administration and planning, said the facilities department found a clogged drain on the roof directly above the classroom, where the door to the old belfry was open to allow water to enter the classroom.

“We have repaired the drain and are in process of getting a contractor to begin making repairs to the brick wall as soon as weather permits,” Gautney said. “We are working to repair the ceiling in the classroom and anticipate to have the ceiling repairs completed in the next 30 days.”

Bibb Graves is UNA’s primary administrative building and it was constructed in 1930. It is named after David Bibb Graves, who served as Alabama’s governor twice (1926-1931) and (1935-1941).

Graves was the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan Montgomery chapter in 1926, which earned him enough support to win the election, according to encyclopedia of Alabama.

Appleby East Dormitories

Two students that live in Appleby East said they have experienced several maintenance issues inside their suites since they have come to UNA.

Sophomore Megan Smart said she had to move out of her room in the middle of the year to a different room because of a leak in her ceiling and mold in her bathroom and air vents.

“We’ve had mold in the bathrooms, mold in the air vents and really bad sewage problems with the toilet and the sinks,” Smart said. “They’ve had problems with this room for a few years but it got so bad when we came in this August we had to move out.”

She said since she has moved out, someone else has moved in, but the new tenant is already having problems too.

“There was a leak in the ceiling that gradually grew bigger over time,” Smart said. “We called and they came (maintenance) but only put something over the crack to cover it but never actually fixed the problem.”

Senior Nikki Matthews said her maintenance requests for the problems in her room sometimes takes months to be processed.

“I live in Appleby East and when we had really bad rain a few weeks ago my room flooded and the walls bubbled up,” Matthews said. “Everything near my window got completely soaked. It was on a weekend so maintenance couldn’t come do anything about it and I still haven’t heard anything since.”

She said a week after her request, there were still brown water spots on the ceiling and bubbled areas along the wall near the window.

Gautney said the leaks in the sorority dorms are caused by caulking issues around the windows as well as the dryvit stucco system, and if the weather permits, repairs to the windows will begin in the next couple of days.

“We need to get someone in here to make sure all of the buildings, especially the residence halls, are up to code,” Matthews said. “When we first moved in there was mold everywhere and during recruitment there was mold in our chapter room. We put in a maintenance request and so they came in, wiped it off and said it was fixed.”

Depending on what suite a student lives in, the cost to stay the Appleby dormitories ranges from $2975 to $3600 per semester.

Wesleyan Hall

An exterior portion of Wesleyan Hall collapsed Jan. 21 that was caused by water migration into an old chimney.

Gautney said once the water entered into the chimney, the temperature fell below freezing which caused the bricks to fall. Architects and structural engineers did not find any structural damage to the building after inspection.

“Since this building is a historical building and the brick used to construct the building was hand made on site we have researched to find brick that were made similar to the original brick,” Gautney said. “We were able to find similar brick in Decatur Alabama for the repairs. This brick has been delivered and is ready to be installed. We anticipate that these repairs will take seven days to complete once started.”

Gautney said that the moisture entering the building is a direct result of the roof conditions.

“We have a contract with Schneider Electric as part of the Campus-wide Energy Conservation project to replace the roof on Wesleyan Hall, Wesleyan Annex, and the GUC,” Gautney said.

“The roof replacements are scheduled to start within the next few months pending project approval from the Alabama Building Commission.”

Wesleyan Hall is more than 130-years-old, and it was used by the Confederate and Union armies during the U.S. Civil War as a hospital.


The majority of UNA’s buildings were built before 1950, which means there are frequently needed repairs to maintain and preserve the history of them. 

President Kenneth Kitts said that renovations and maintenance repairs are a top priority for the university, but the state does not include maintenance in its budget when allocations are considered each year. 

He said legislation has left the responsibility to universities to repair buildings on campuses across the state.

Kitts hopes that Project 208 will help bring the university more state funding to address the current facility issues on campus.

Social Media Coordinator Anna Mahan spoke with Megan Smart and Nikki Matthews about the Appleby East conditions.