Precipitation Problems in MAC Hall

Garbage bin in MAC Hall, meant to collect leaking water from the roof. Photo credit: Travis Boulanger

It’s no secret that there are problems with a leaking roof in Mary Ann Cofrin (MAC) Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB). Many students and professors that have had classes in the building could recount a class being interrupted when they realize the ceiling is leaking. Barrels and buckets are commonplace in MAC Hall when it’s raining, providing a stark contrast to the building’s polished white interior.

A student who experienced the roof leaking in classrooms during class was Ryan Pyatt, a UWGB student majoring in Communications. Ryan Pyatt said, “I noticed the rain bucket in the classroom when I walked in.”  Ryan explained that the professor addressed the class about the leak but didn’t stay on the topic long.

Paul Pinkston, Director of Facilities Management and Planning at the University, explained that the roof had issues since it was built in 2000; the contractor who built Mary Ann Cofrin went out of business shortly after. UWGB has been fighting an uphill battle from the start. “There are lots of [details] that are not done correctly,” Pinkston said.

Pinkston said it’s challenging to fix MAC’s leaks because of its unique, curved roof. “Generally, in a flat roof, you can find the source because it’s all going to pitch to a drain. But on a curved roof, where do you start? Where did the water enter? In MAC, we have a lot of areas where wind-driven rain affects where the water gets in.” He also said the length of the building creates extra problems: “On the first floor, [rooms] 103-113, just think of how long that exterior wall is, and how long that roof is, and all the chances for that penetration [of water].”

Plans are being made to resolve the issues with the roof soon. The skylights, another source of leaking, have already been replaced. They are insulated, unlike the old ones. Pinkston said they are looking to do something similar on the second floor of the building soon. Next summer, there will be insulation added to the roof, which should help with winter’s cold snaps. It should also cut down on the noise that can drown out lectures when it rains heavily.

“We’ve been trying to get repairs and a solution to this since [2015 or 2016]. That’s how long things take,” Pinkston said. The entire project’s cost, including some improvements to Wood Hall, is around $5.5 million.

In the meantime, students, faculty, and staff will continue to deal with the problems that MAC Hall has presented.

Pinkston said that if a student’s property, such as a laptop, is ever damaged by the leaking ceiling, they should contact the Dean of Students. There is no guarantee that they would be reimbursed for the damages, but reaching out would be the correct first step.

By Grace Merkt, Travis Boulanger, and Wynna Bonde

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