top of page

Campus Center flooded again

For the second time in three years, the plastic pipe in Campus Center breaks.

By Joseph Acuña, Staff Writer and Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor

Los Angeles Valley College Maintenance workers pump water out of the flooded east tunnel at the Central Plant on Wednesday night, March 1, 2023, in Valley Glen, California. The eastern tunnel carries water and electricity to numerous buildings on the east side of campus. The deluge has caused an electricity outage for most of the campus' facilities. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

A pipe storing the campus’ chilled water split at a coupling in Campus Center on March 1, causing a flood that resulted in power outages around campus. This pipe was the same culprit of the flood that occurred in 2020, which caused asbestos.

After water damaged the center’s basement, 16 buildings were left without power while the remaining buildings utilized the emergency electricity system in place. The ‘70s era building stores the alpha data center for the school, which controls internet and lighting for the campus. Maintenance workers pumped at least five feet of water out of the center’s basement, or about 37 gallons.

“The tunnel system was a total catastrophe,” said General Foreman Brian Bietsch, in regards to the flooding.

A similar flood affected Campus Center three years ago. Asbestos was found in the basement, which led to abatements and tests that were interrupted due to burglaries and vandalism in the center.

Once the building was deemed free of asbestos, a grand opening of the Mosaic Village: Unity Center was celebrated last November. The village consisted of the Dream Resource Center, Rainbow Pride Center, Puente Program, Basic Needs Center, Umoja Black Scholars and the Veterans Resource Center. The displaced programs are currently operating out of offices scattered throughout the campus.

This semester, Campus Center resumed its purpose as a hub of classrooms — for less than a month. Seventeen classes were held in the two-story building; six history, three political science and eight theater classes.

While professors were given the option to conduct their classes online following the closure of the center, they were encouraged to relocate to other buildings to resume the in-person learning students signed up for.

“Attendance is holding steady so far, and hopefully we will not see any major decline as we have been moved to a newer building with better accommodations,” said political science professor Samuel Lingrosso, who now teaches in the Administration and Career Advancement building.

Students whose classes were moved will remain in the appropriately set rooms that relate to their lessons being taught. Classes will not return to the Campus Center until the fail safes are checked, which include tests for asbestos and mold.

Testing for mold is more lenient than testing for asbestos. With mold, walls can be swabbed and carpets can be tested within the building. Asbestos requires tests be done by a qualified laboratory per Environmental Protection Agency standards. The EPA recommends any damaged materials to be tested, which could range from $8 to $40 per square foot. The Campus Center is a 66,000 square foot structure, though only the basement was affected.

“A lot of praise to the Maintenance and Operations crew,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Carmen Dominguez. “They were on their way home and came back when the power went out to get the Campus Center back and running throughout the weekend.”

Improvements and replacing the hydronic lines, which hold and circulate chilled water throughout the campus, will be expedited by the LACCD. Last year's passing of the district’s $5.3 billion bond, Measure LA, allocated funds to revamp infrastructure, technology and other college needs, with Valley seeing more than $496 million.

According to Valley President Barry Gribbons, Campus Center’s hydronic lines replacement is a priority for the college and will be expedited.

“It's not really the funding that's the issue,” said Gribbons. “The issue is how long the project takes. The engineering for all of that work is fairly complicated, especially as we work to minimize how many trenches we dig, to make improvements to minimize the impact of the college community.”


bottom of page