Bossert Gives Diners in Lowell House His 'State of the Plumbing Address'

Fifteen years of inadequate preventive maintenance have led to chronic break-downs of physical equipment in the Houses, William H. Bossert, master of Lowell House, said in a speech to house members last Friday.

Standing at one end of Lowell's crowded dining room, Bossert delivered what he termed a "State of the Plumbing Address,' including a catalogue of Lowell's House physical ills.

He said the House has suffered from inadequate heating, numerous leaky showers that have caused damage to personal property and rotting insulation on electrical wiring.

No Entryway Heat

The most acute recent problem has been the lack of heat in three entryways since the Christmas break. Until the situation was alleviated a few days ago, students in the affected areas complained of being unable to study comfortably in their rooms due to the cold, according to Alison Clarkson '77 and Peter Greenwald '76, two House residents.

Clarkson said that she had begun wearing her fur-coat to bed and, in an interview yesterday, Bossert described finding ice in a shower stall.

Neither administration indifference nor tradesman laziness has anything to do with the House's problems, Bossert said in his speech.

He attributed the problems to aging equipment that has been poorly maintained. "People think it's a plot from Steven S.J. Hall's office, but it's not."

Leslie E. Thomas, manager of utilities for Buildings and Grounds, blamed the current rash of mechanical failures on the added strain of the Christmas shutdown and the new conservation measures that have reduced dormitory room temperatures to 65 degrees at night.

Thomas denied Bossert's charges, saying that there has been no lack of preventive maintenance during the past years. "We're doing more in the Houses than we've ever done," he added.

Bossert urged students to be patient and to stop writing letters to President Bok and Hall, the vice president for administration. He expressed concern that such letters would bring counterproductive pressure down on B and G.

"Please don't screw it up for me by getting these people defensive," Bossert said.

Bossert also described three proposals for dealing with maintenance problems:

*close Lowell House for the summer to permit extensive repairs to be done. This would mean abandoning the traditional policy of leasing the house to reunion and convention groups during that time;

*perform maintenance on a scheduled basis with House superintendents, instead of B and G supervisors setting the priorities; and

*reinstate the position of handyman to deal with minor problems that now must wait for the attention of a highly-skilled union member.