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It Seemed Too Good To Be True


By Gay Seidman

The note of relief in University officials' voices Sunday night when they talked about the success of their moderate vacation heating policy was almost audible.

Last year, an effort to save money by lowering the temperature in the Houses to 40 degrees ended in disaster when frozen waterpipes in several River Houses burst, causing nearly $100,000 in damages.

This year, the University was determined not to repeat the mistake, and set room temperatures at a more moderate 55 or 60 degrees.

What the administrators didn't know Sunday night was that students had returned to South House's Bertram Hall that afternoon to find their rooms had been flooded over the vacation.

Frank A. Marciano, superintendent of Building and Grounds for the Quad area, said yesterday B&G personnel had checked Bertram the week before, but hadn't found anything amiss.

It wasn't until the heat went back up to normal, he said, that the ice in the frozen pipes melted and the water gushed out.

Roy Tishler '79 said yesterday he told B&G personnel Sunday that his room seemed to be flooded, "and then they began to realize it wasn't only my room."

Rooms in parts of Bertram's second and third floors were flooded, and water had begun to leak through the ceiling of the living room on the first floor by the time the leaks were found.

Marciano said it will probably be impossible to pinpoint the cause of this vacation's only freeze, because the contributing factors range from the affected wing's northerly exposure to open flues in the chimneys.

"Last year we ran the system exactly the same way, and we didn't have any problem. I don't know what caused it--but I wish we did so we could take care of it next year," Marciano said.

The University has replaced the faulty pipes and radiators. Rugs sent out for cleaning returned yesterday. The students in Bertram had all been reinstated in their rooms by Tuesday night, Rulan C. Pian '44, master of South House said yesterday.

"Everything's done except for a few finishing touches," Marciano said.

Richard G. Leahy, associate dean of the Faculty for resources and planning, said yesterday he had not yet heard estimates of either the damage in South House of the total savings in heating costs.

Marciano said the cost of the repairs is definitely "under $5000.

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