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Students walking out of Bentley Hall Jan. 23, 2024, in Athens, Ohio.

Bentley Hall classroom evacuated Tuesday after water gushes from ceiling

This story is developing and will be updated with more information. The Post was not able to reach Ohio University facilities maintenance immediately for comment.

Water gushed from the ceiling in Bentley Hall room 136 because of a possible burst pipe. Classes were evacuated and relocated. Fans are being used to dry the floor after water ran down from the back of the room and pooled near the front of the lecture hall. 

Abby Rittenhouse, a first-year student studying history on the pre-law track, was the first to witness the leakage in room 136 for her 1804 Scholars class. Rittenhouse recently switched majors and said she came early in anticipation of being in a new class. 

“I opened the door and it’s just coming down, like it was a lot,” Rittenhouse said.”I walked over and on the boy's bathroom and there was a sign that said if there’s a flood please call this number.”

This prompted maintenance to send someone over to look at it, Rittenhouse said.

Edmond Chang, associate professor of English, was one of the two instructors teaching the 1804 Scholars class Tuesday. Dr. Chang wrote in an email once he arrived around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday there were already a few students in the hall looking into the room.

“Initially, it was coming down out of the ceiling tiles quite vigorously (like heavy rain) in just one section near the back of the room,” Dr. Chang wrote in an email. “Water was starting to pool in the seats and flowing down the raked seating toward the front.” 

Dr. Chang mentioned Rittenhouse’s call and said he called again around 4 p.m. to stress how urgent things were to Facilities. He said Facilities arrived closer to 4:20 p.m.

“Two men told me that it was a urinal upstairs that was gushing water; they stopped the flow there,” Dr. Chang wrote in an email. “I am sure there was still water between the floors coming down.” 

Chang said they left around 4:30 p.m. At that time he said the water had spread to the front of the classroom in a pool but that the water had not stopped running. 

When Chang opened the door for the first time he made a joke about the state of Bentley Hall.

“This is what your tuition money is paying for guys,” Chang said jokingly.

Chang posted a video of the water flowing from the ceiling on social media.

Kevin Uhalde, associate professor of history, was also supposed to teach in Bentley on Tuesdays. 

“By the time I got there, Dr. Chang was there and directing students into a room across the hall,” Dr. Uhalde wrote in an email. “He called maintenance as well because the water was quickly running down from the back of the classroom to the front and creating a large puddle.” 

Ethan Pettit, an OU alumni was waiting in the Bentley’s first-floor hallway for his brother to finish class. He said he had not heard of the flooding in room 136.

“It’s not surprising, Bentley is not bad but it’s definitely a workhorse building,” Pettit said. 

Pettit commented on other problems Bentley has been known to have such as temperature control in hotter temperatures.

Large fans are being used to dry out the flooring of room 136.


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