Showers flood as Fletcher construction overflows into beginning of school year

Alex Nemec

As students move into the recently opened Fletcher Hall, they discovered their showers were flooding into the rest of the bathroom.

UW Oshkosh Director of Planning and Construction JoAnn Rife said while Fletcher may need to shut down one bathroom at a time to make any necessary revisions, students will not be required to leave the building.

Rife said during the investigation to find the cause of the flooding, they found the pressure from the shower heads was pushing the shower curtains past the threshold of shower areas.

Sophomore Maria Whiteaker said she has experienced problems with the bathrooms and drainage issues with her kitchen sink.

“I think [the] fourth floor was having really bad issues, like it was flooding,” Whiteaker said. “The third-floor girls [bathroom] floods a little bit too.”

Whiteaker said this is not what she expected to come back to considering the hall was supposed to be completed by move-in.

“They just finished the wood seating by the stairs; they just finished that yesterday,” Whiteaker said. “There was caution tape up the past week.”

Whiteaker said she hoped the plumbing would work.

“[In] one of the sinks in my bathroom only the hot water works; the cold doesn’t,” Whiteaker said.

As part of the renovation, the previous step up to the shower, which allowed for greater pitch to the drains in the showers, but does not meet American with Disability Access guidelines, was removed, Rife said.

“As this was a renovation of an existing building with a shorter floor to floor height than typical construction today, it does not allow for a significant slope without the compromise of the ceiling height to the floor below or inability to meet the ADA,” Rife said.

Senior Project Manager Christine Miles said she does not anticipate a major overhaul to address the problem and will instead likely be a combination of a few things.

“Most can be done in a day or less per bathroom once we have materials,” Miles said. “We are going to try a simple fix on a couple bathrooms first to see how much improvement there is. That will help us move in the right direction.”

Whiteaker, a front-desk worker for Fletcher Hall, said she has seen construction workers coming in and out but has not heard anything from campus about what is wrong with the building.

“I haven’t heard anyone directly tell me ‘Hey, this is what’s up with your hall,’” Whiteaker said. “We’re not getting emails [from campus].”

Miles said Fletcher residents can help out in addressing the issue as well.

“It will always be important that the people using the showers make an extra effort to have the shower heads pointed away from the shower curtains,” Miles said. “It will ultimately reduce the amount of water in each showers drying area too.”