The Delta Music Institute at Delta State University experienced major flooding damage to its facilities in the Whitfield Building on Friday due to a busted pipe located at the top of the building.
DMI instructor Barry Bays discovered the damage when arriving at the DMI around 10:30 a.m. It is unclear when the flooding began and what caused the break.
“We don’t yet know how long it had been leaking,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge, who also arrived on scene with First Lady Nancy LaForge to assist the Facilities Management crew with cleanup efforts.
According to LaForge, cleanup began around 11 a.m. and continued through the afternoon.
“A pipe burst over the front part of the building and water cascaded down through two floors,” said LaForge. “The offices of DMI Director Tricia Walker and Barry Bays were totally flooded — everything was soaked. Damage estimates are to be determined.”
Walker was on site salvaging what she could from her completely soaked office.
“I’m still in a bit of shock today since it just happened, but I know there were some losses,” said Walker. “I’ll be sorting through everything over the weekend and see what exactly was lost.”
Walker added that the biggest immediate challenge would be drying out the building sufficiently so heating can be turned back on.
“The facilities management workers who helped us today did an incredible job in a very difficult situation,” she said. “Thankfully, we only have one full week of classes left before exams and we will hold classes in Studio A and B this week if classrooms are not ready. We should be back to normal before the start of classes in January.”
Bays, a lifelong musician, said he had thousands of dollars worth of personal instruments in the building that experienced different levels of damage.
“It was unreal — I just opened the door and water came rushing out,” said Bays.
The university will release more information to the public as it becomes available. In the meantime, Facilities Management will continue to salvage and repair to the best of its ability.
“I’d like to personally thank President and Mrs. LaForge for lending a hand to help us move items as the daylight was fading,” said Walker. “That’s what the Delta State’s ‘can do’ spirit is all about.”