Rain storms cause damage to microscope, leaks in students dorms

by Aleka Kroitzsh | 10/24/19 2:10am

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An expensive microscope located in Remsen Hall suffered permanent damage from water leaks last month.

by Maddie Doerr / The Dartmouth

During a late September rain storm, water leakage in Remsen Medical Sciences Building, currently under construction, resulted in permanent damage of a microscope that will cost roughly $1.5 million to repair. The damage to the College’s Scios 2 DualBeam electron microscope was so severe that the microscope could not be repaired, according to electron microscopes director Maxime Guinel. A storm a few weeks later also resulted in water leaks in student residences in the River Cluster. 

At least 10 research projects have been put on hold since the damage to the microscope, Guinel said. Additionally, students requiring the microscope had to relocate to the University of New Hampshire or as far away as Harvard University. He added that the microscope, which the College imported from the Czech Republic, would not be replaced for at least six months. Guinel noted that he is working with the College to coordinate the insurance coverage for the microscope. 

This incident is not the first time Remsen has experienced water damage since the construction started two years ago. Guinel said that last Thanksgiving, the first floor of the facility flooded, damaging several computers. Luckily, those were easier to replace, Guinel said. 

“I understand [the leakage] is a mistake,” he said. “But it is avoidable.” 

Senior project manager for planning, design and construction Chad Morig, who oversees the Remsen construction, did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to the damage to the microscope, rain storms on Oct. 16 caused leakage in the River Cluster dorms. Many students living in Judge and French Halls woke up to water spilling from their windows, according to Alyssa Fayerman ’23.

Fayerman said she woke up to commotion in her hallway and noticed a “pretty constant stream of water” flowing from the top of her window. 

“I come back to my bed and realize the entire half of it is soaking wet,” she said. “Also, the water was yellow.” 

An email from residential operations Thursday morning informed inhabitants of Judge and French Halls that they were aware of the issue and encouraged students to reach out to the Work Control Center or the College’s troubleshooters to “correct these issues.” 

Fayerman said the troubleshooters suggested she move her bed diagonally so as to be farther away from the window. She added that it is unclear whether Residential Operations will be able to prevent future leakages. 

She explained that the facility workers did the best they could, especially since the paneling above the windows on the third floor of French were “just gone.” 

Fayerman added that the one of the troubleshooters offered to replace her mattress. However, since the College’s only construction lift was in use, the troubleshooters were unable to repair the leak at the time of the incident, according to Fayerman.

According to Marisa Natarajan ’23, some River residents did not hear back from Residential Operations at all. 

Natarajan, who lives on the third floor of Judge, got back to her room Wednesday night to find her window sill flooded with water. As she searched for the source of the flooding, the water continued to leak onto her bed. She said she reached out to residential operations the next day for help, but no one came. 

“I wasn’t mad about the leakage,” Natarajan said. “I was mad that nobody came to fix it.”

Director of residential operations Catherine Henault wrote in an email statement that “other than a couple windows leaking, there was no damage.”