On August 2, 2023, in the middle of the night, a high-pressure water line broke a coupling on the third floor of the Telcom building, unleashing tens of thousands of gallons of water in the very short hour or so it took skilled technicians to stem the flow. During that time, water seeped from the third floor through the walls and ceilings and permeated just about every inch of the floors below, including the Technology Engagement Center, home of the Co-Lab Studios, our Bluesmith studio, classroom, office space, storage room, and all the common shared areas. Additionally, the DukeCard office in the basement of the building took on several inches of water. All of this happened during what is usually the busiest time of the summer, four weeks before the first day of classes in fall.
Over the following month, contractors were in the building around the clock to first clean up the mess, dry out the building, and then get to work putting it back together again. Almost all of the baseboard and lower foot of drywall had to be pulled out and replaced, carpets were replaced or cleaned, ceilings replaced, electrical circuits reconnected, several walls with insulation had to be completely removed, along with the massive shuffle of moving equipment, supplies, and furniture in a not-so-fun game of Tetris around the building. We were pretty lucky in that almost none of our major equipment was damaged in the flood - all of our printers, laser cutters, computers, etc came out thankfully unscathed.
Through some really quick work by Duke's facilities department and all the contractors brought in along the way, we were able to miraculously re-open the TEC on the first day of classes last week. We still have a few loose ends to clean up, but we think the space looks better than ever. Click through the slideshow to see some of the in-progress cleanup and repair pictures over the last few weeks.