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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
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The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

LRC water main break cause for network loss at NMU

The Learning Resource Center was closed Tuesday, Jan. 21 due to a water main break to the building.

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Water rushes down from the North East side of the LRC after a water main burst, leaving it to drain down toward Wright Street and into the mechanics room of the LRC Basement. (Emily Pagel NW)

At 8 a.m., NMU alerted students, faculty and staff via the Emergency Text Alert System the LRC would be closed. Emails and an alert bar were also posted on the front page of the NMU homepage to inform the off campus commuters.

During that time Internet, WiMAX and broadcasting abilities were out on campus and across Marquette due to water leaking into maintenance rooms.

According to Mike Bath, Director of Public Safety and Police Services, the damages mainly took place outside of the LRC.

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“We had some water in the building, but nothing really major in damage and it flooded the sidewalks,” Bath said.

The water drained down the hill behind the LRC and traveled toward Norwood Avenue where Public Safety blocked traffic as the grounds crew began covering the roads with sand.

Bath said the water system was turned off to determine the origin of the leak and the building had to be evacuated.

“We did leave the building open so people could go through the building since its so cold out,” Bath said. “Because we turned the water off to determine if it was the domestic or fire suppression system you can’t flush the toilets so you can’t have people in the building.”

According to Bath there was no water damage to the mechanical section of the building where the leak occurred.

Leslie Warren, Dean of Academic Information Services said she received word the LRC would be closed down before she left for work and came in around the time Bath made the decision to close the building.

“The decision to be reopened around noon was made partly to give our staff a good time frame because we didn’t want people leaving here and not knowing last minute if they had to turn right back around,” Warren said. “So public safety let everyone know that we would be targeting a noon opening unless they couldn’t get everything under control, which they did.”

According to Warren, some of the services were able to come back online sooner than anticipated.

“They were able to get the network and enough of the systems back online to not have to relocate the Help Desk,” Warren said.  “They were able to function out of the LRC for students who had questions about the network being down. Industrial Design and Technology was also able to get some of the classroom technology to other the parts of campus.”

Although internet access and the help desk became available shortly after the water main break several of the broadcast programs were unable to get back on the network.

Eric Smith, Director of Broadcast and AV Services said that Public Eye News, the student run television show was cancelled due to the transmission difficulties.

“The problems is when they turned off the power to the building,” Smith said. “When they re-energized the power some of the equipment that had been on for a number of years failed and so they are looking at how they can work around some of the failed equipment to restore the signal to our transmitter.”

Despite the television broadcasts being down Smith said the radio stations on campus were functioning properly after the power resumed.

“There were several possible failures,” Smith said. “We were fortunate that WNMU-FM and WUPX the student radio station were largely unaffected by the outage when the power was restored those signals came right back.”

According to Smith there was a positive response from the NMU community during the water break.

“These are unexpected events,” Smith said. “No one certainly thought this would happen. Everyone has pitched in and the public has been very understanding of us being off air. The people who used the services are very patient and they understand that we are working as hard as we can to get things back on schedule.”

“I really think the staff did a really great job of working through the situation,” Warren said. “Public safety, and the facility staff were very responsive in the building. I know that my staff in Academic Information Services did the best they could to keep things manageable.”

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