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Sprinkler bursts in Hearnes Hall, forces relocation

Curtis Almeter
Hearnes Hall – MSSU Flickr

On Sunday, January 14th, a fire suppressant sprinkler failed on the third floor of Hearnes Hall, causing considerable water damage to all three floors. Facility Services arrived to inches of standing water, classified as Category Three water damage requiring extensive cleanup.


Remediation company Blackmon Mooring is working to dry and dehumidify the building. After removing wet carpet, flooring, and sheetrock, the restoration crew will administer chemical densification and preventative treatment. Affected areas can then be reconstructed.


Damages to Hearnes Hall necessitated the immediate relocation of its departments to other buildings on campus. With the help of Facility Services and Information Technology, Hearnes staff boxed up their offices and moved into spare classrooms, reception areas, and offices. Staff adapted to make this unprecedented transition as smooth as possible, restructuring office spaces for functionality just in time for the start of the spring semester.


“Every time you have a change like this it takes some time to get yourself reorganized again,” said Chris Mitchell, Scholarship and Outreach Counselor from the Financial Aid office. “Where did I put that paper? Where did I stack that form? With a little patience and time you find those things and you get your new system. All of us are doing that.”


Mitchell’s department, like many others, is now housed in one room, with makeshift desks stationed side by side. Despite their close quarters, displaced faculty are making the best of the situation.


Dr. Ildo Kim, Communication Department Chair, relocated to accommodate the Office of the President. Kim sees a silver lining in the challenge as he puts faces to icons. “I haven’t met other administrative people much. I just met them online,” he said. “I met them and they became neighbors. It’s great to know them.”


Laura Switzer, Human Resources Generalist, believes this connection is key to relocated office operations. “[The move] allowed me to see how our whole building can come together,” she said. “We’re separate departments, but we all came together as one big building, as one big family, and we’ve worked together to be where the students and employees needed us so we can get back up and running.”


At such a bustling time on campus, Hearnes Hall staff are persevering through this transition to be accessible to students. With a lengthy restoration process ahead, staff are relying on each other to weather the semester.


Relocated offices can be found at the following locations:


Academic Advising – Spiva Library 413

Academic Affairs Project Manager – Webster 332

Admissions – Spiva Library 102

Associate VP Academic Affairs – Anderson 152

Associate VP Student Success – Spiva Library 207

Bursar – Webster 111

Dean of Arts and Sciences – Leon 112

Disability Services – Spiva Library nook near 318

Financial Aid – Webster 112 and 118

Human Resources – Kuhn Annex 112 and 118

Mental Health Counseling – Billingsly Student Center 347

Project Stay – Spiva Library 421 and 422

Registrar – Billingsly Student Center Card Services 1st Floor

Student Success Directors – Spiva Library 426 and 427

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