Rainwater leaking above stairwell poses dangerous environment for students, employees.
By Wally Perez
Students, faculty and staff need to take caution when walking inside McCreless Hall during or after a rainy day or night.
Rainfall early Thursday left the south entrance, lobby and nearby stairwell of McCreless with a pool of water that leaked into the building, which dripped from the ceiling onto the stairwell, eventually streaming down and finding its way to the entryway where it collected to a depth of about 3 inches of water.
Building attendant Silvia Morales said this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, and worked quickly to clean up the area before 7 a.m. Thursday.
“We usually put a trashcan under the leak if it’s raining during the day,” Morales said. “But when it rains overnight like today, there isn’t anyone to attend to it immediately, so it ends up pooling inside the building.”
Morales said she previously has brought the leak to the attention of other staff and a supervisor, but it never seems to go anywhere.
The leak not only creates an inconvenience for students and faculty who walk through or around the area, but also leaves a potentially dangerous environment, as well as the potential of mold.
Morales typically cleans up the small flooding with a wet vacuum, but is sometimes left with only a mop and a fan to dry up the situation, like this recent occurrence.
Math Chair Said Fariabi said the roof has been leaking for about two years.
“No matter how heavy the rain, it always finds its way into the building,” Fariabi said.
He said he has reported the leak in the past, but has yet to see any action taken.
“This is the worst occurrence that I’ve seen so far,” Fariabi said. “It’s not just the leak that’s the issue, but the possible danger of mold in that area is a concern.”
Fariabi plans to report the leak to Dr. Conrad Krueger, dean of arts and sciences, who will then report it to facilities superintendent David Ortega, who is already aware of the leak.
Ortega said he had looked into fixing the roof to stop the leak the last time it rained a few weeks ago.
A contractor from Tremco, the manufacturer of the roofing product, inspected the roof and told Ortega the cause was a product failure around the roof drain.
“It’s a process to get in touch with the roofing manufacturers, and there’s a delay with the warranty service, which is why it’s taken a while to deal with it,” Ortega said. “The leak this morning required immediate action, so we decided to get Empire Roofing to inspect the roof and repair it if necessary.”
Empire works on waterproofing around McCreless, so Ortega reached out to them later that morning
Ortega said he hadn’t received any complaints about previous leaks, which he assumes is because they may not be reported to the correct people.
Problems can and should be reported to Ortega by way of work order or phone call for immediate attention.
John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities operation and construction management, typically deals with large problems like the leak and said he hadn’t heard about it either until The Ranger contacted him Thursday.
“No one had reported the leak to me,” Strybos said. “Sometimes issues that go to David (Ortega) never reach me because it isn’t necessary. I’m normally contacted if there is a problem large enough that David requires a larger budget, contractors or engineers.”
A recent air quality test in fall 2015 came back negative for mold in the ceiling, in response to the potential mold the leak may have caused, Strybos said.
Strybos said any student, faculty or staff member can submit issues through work orders, which can be found at www.alamo.edu/district/facilities/ under the service request form link.
Once Strybos receives a work order, he sends a request to look into the problem to Ortega.
Strybos sent a request at about 10 a.m. Thursday to Ortega, who then sent Empire to assess the roof and repair if needed, Ortega said.
“Hopefully, we can get to the bottom of the leak and move on from there,” Strybos said. “It’s a possible problem with the roof, which isn’t uncommon, and it may come down to figuring out how and where the water is coming in.”
Strybos said he welcomes calls and reports of any facility-related issues.
Faculty may have reported the leak and any other issues previously; it just comes down to reporting it to the right people, he said.
To report an issue by phone, call Strybos at 210-485-0702 or Ortega at 210-486-1227.