Building and facility preparations at UCM hit a bump in the road toward the end of holiday break as students and faculty prepared to return for the spring semester.
A UCM facilities worker doing door checks the day after Christmas was met with an abnormally humid environment upon entering the Highlander Theatre lobby, according to Tim Castilaw, associate vice president of capital planning and facilities management.
“Pick whatever hyperbolic phrase you want,” said theatre and dance department chair John Wilson. “It was incredibly humid and moist, and yeah there was a lot of condensation on the windows.”
Castilaw said the cause of the humidity was a steam coil in the air conditioning and heating unit connected to the Highlander, Wood and Martin buildings that malfunctioned and leaked steam into the building.
“The steam leaking into the building caused humidity levels to be incredibly high and a lot of condensation to develop and drip everywhere,” Castilaw said.
Castilaw said they started working on drying the affected areas immediately but called in ServPro to expedite the process. The cost for ServPro’s services was not available by press time.
“We started working on it ourselves, but called ServPro in pretty quickly for more dehumidifiers and additional support,” he said. “It was an urgent issue that needed to be addressed.”
The Highlander wasn’t the only area affected by the humidity. ServPro had positioned dryers and dehumidifiers through the theater, its lobby, the foyer, the hallway connecting to the Martin and Wood buildings and on the floor below where KMOS operates.
“The area that was affected the most was the foyer area of the theater,” Castilaw said. “For the other areas, we just had to get the humidity back down.”
Wilson said that the damage inside the Highlander was minimal and would not delay any courses, rehearsals and productions that the theatre department had scheduled for the semester.
“We had some blackout Styrofoam on the third floor windows that blocked outside light when we go to black,” he said. “That was ruined but other than that only some ceiling tiles were permanently damaged.”
The theatre and dance department will open its spring 2019 season with “August: Osage County,” directed by Aaron Scully, instructor of theatre. Four performances have been scheduled for Feb. 20-24. Tickets are available online or at the Highlander Box Office from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week before the production.