Rain causes damage in Student Recreation Center

Buckets sit on the courts in the Student Recreation Center to catch dripping rain water in February. The roof above the basketball courts has had problems with leaks since 2004, said James Eubanks, director of the SRC.

by News Writer Breanna Littrell

Students who have played basketball on any of the three courts at the Student Recreation Center may have had to deal with slippery floors and buckets on the court.

The building has had problems with leaks since it opened in 2004, said James Eubanks, director of the SRC.

Eubanks said in the past year the leaks have become worse. When the staff is there, they are able to put buckets out to catch the water leaking from the ceiling.

He said after the first rain of the spring semester, they noticed there were new spots where water was dripping from the ceiling.

“Our student workers put the buckets out, and we actually ran out of buckets,” he said. “We normally put out 7-8 buckets, and they used all of them.”

He said if it is just leaking on one or two courts, they can still allow students to play on the ones that do not have leaks.

“Sometimes it is all three courts, and sometimes it may just be one of the courts,” he said. “We never know which one it will be, or if it’s going to be just one, or if it will be two or all three. So we can never plan on which one is going to have water on it.”

Eubanks said when the university is on a break, he checks in to clean up any puddles. There are a few, small damaged spots on the courts from standing water.

He said he, along with the Department of Maintenance, have not located where the leaks are coming from.

“One theory is on the roof we have what are called mechanical penthouses, which are basically aluminum rooms that sit on top of the roof over each court that are on a slab of cement,” Eubanks said. “We think that somehow the water is getting in between the slab of cement and where the roof butts it.”

He said there are a couple of reasons for the damage to the roof.

One of the issues is the roof covering is blown up in areas and stretching out the seams. He said he believes water could seep in through those stretched seams.

He said maintenance repaired the floor four years ago to fix the back corner where the wood had started to rot.

He said it costs a lot to get the floor refinished, and it is not ideal to sand it all the way down because the wood gets thinner each time that is done.

Eubanks said the university does not normally pay for any of the SRC’s expenses.

“We are what’s called an auxiliary operation,” he said. “So the fees that the students pay are the only income that we have. Our whole operation is paid for from (the student activities) fee. Our budget pays for the student workers, the professional staff salary benefits and we pay all of our utility costs.

“Normally the repairs would be taken out of our budget, but we don’t have it, so the university is putting the money out for this one.”

Chief Financial Officer of Business and Financial Affairs Evan Thornton said the Deferred Maintenance Budget has $65,000 for repairs on roof at SRC. 

Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration & Planning Michael Gautney said the repairs are scheduled for middle to late April, it is just behind several other projects that must be taken care of first.

Senior Jon Kimbrough said he believes the leak will only get worse the longer the roof remains damaged.

“It’s definitely in the best interests of the university, both in terms of the safety of the students and cost-effectiveness to replace the roof as soon as they are able,” he said. “Knowing that the funding has been approved, and the fact that they still haven’t decided to begin the project, reflects poorly on the university.”