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Flowers Building, Mary Lou closed indefinitely after flooding and ‘significant water damage’

Parts of Flowers and Page flooded Monday morning after a chilled water pipe burst, damaging some floors and ceilings, including in the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture. Flowers is indefinitely closed and only open to emergency staff at this time. 

The burst pipe, on the second floor of Flowers, caused “significant water damage” to the second floor, first floor, basement and parts of Page Auditorium, according to a release

In addition to the Mary Lou, which is on the first floor, Flowers hosts the Department of Classical Studies, Academic Council and the Duke Office of Duke Kunshan University Relations on its second floor. The Chronicle is on its third floor. 

Staff are assessing damages and planning for short-term relocation of Mary Lou staff and programming, according to a Monday email sent to students from Dawna Jones, director of the Mary Lou; Associate Director Quinton Smith; Assistant Director Samaiyah Faison; and Office Coordinator Ann El. 

“We recognize that for some of you the Mary Lou is your home away from home at Duke and we will continue to support you during this time,” the email read. 

All space reservations within the Mary Lou will be canceled for at least the rest of the week and University Center Activities and Events will relocate them. 

AFTERDISASTER, a flood restoration service, was treating the building Monday and furniture was being removed by movers from Storr, a Raleigh furniture store. 

“A lot of ceiling tile has come down, the carpets are soaked (or still have standing water). Depending on [whether] the walls are wet, we may need to remove some drywall, much of the carpet will need to be replaced, likewise for the ceiling,” read a Monday morning email obtained by The Chronicle from Susan McDaniel, building coordinator for West Campus & Science precincts, to those with offices in the building.

Power in Flowers was shut off in the early afternoon so crews could assess potential damage to electrical panels and equipment. As of late afternoon, power has been restored to the HVAC systems and Siemans panels, but the rest of the building’s power will not be turned on until the water stops dripping, according to a second email obtained by The Chronicle from McDaniel. 

“I assure you this is [an] ‘all hands on deck’ situation,” McDaniel wrote in the email. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 


Milla Surjadi | Editor-in-Chief

Milla Surjadi is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

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