Pappajohn Business Building is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Fire alarms and sprinkers went off in the building after construction crews hit a sprinkler. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Minimal damage in Pappajohn Business Building after sprinklers went off

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Classes were canceled today in the John Pappajohn Business Building because a construction crew hit an active sprinkler head on the third floor of the building, causing temporary water damage, UI officials said.

At 10:43 a.m., the fire alarms went off in the building, forcing students, faculty, and staff to evacuate.

Firefighters were on scene within minutes, but soon realized they were dealing with a damaged sprinkler rather than a fire, Fire Safety Coordinator Bruce McAvoy said.

“When the sprinkler head was knocked off, the sprinkler system kicked in as it was supposed to and it ended up hitting our computer system in the center of the building,” Professor and Senior Associate Dean Amy Kristof-Brown said. “The water spread relatively quickly throughout the rooms connected to the computer labs and then started coming down into the first floor in just a few isolated areas, so for precaution because of the electrical issues that were involved, we closed the building about 45 minutes to an hour after that and made sure that everyone had left the building at that time until we could fully assess where the damage was going and how quickly we could get things back online.”

Kristof-Brown said she hopes the building will be open by Tuesday night for evening classes, but it depends on the assessment of the computer systems.

She also said there will be no lasting damage. The only items that were damaged were fixable, like computer equipment, walls, and carpeting.

“We’ll have things up and running as soon as possible. Hopefully within the next 24 hours,” Kristof-Brown said.

-Sarah Watson

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