Water damage on hoops court not enough to keep Mavs from practicing

The sideline of the Wayne Nelson Court at Brownson Arena shows some water damage Wednesday, one day after a water pipe break resulted in water sitting on the floor for 30-45 minutes.

Industrial fans were blowing all around the court Wednesday at Brownson Arena.

In the hallway leading to the northwest stairwell, ceiling tiles had been removed, a sign warning of icy stairs was taped to the door to the basement, and there was a steady drip ... drip ... drip ... into a large trash can from a pipe feeding the fire sprinkler system.

The Colorado Mesa University basketball teams practiced on the main floor, which escaped major damage Tuesday night when the end cap of a pipe blew off, spewing water into the building.

“It’s fairly warped on that side, on the black (sideline) and up to the black,” men’s basketball coach Jim Heaps said of the damage to Wayne Nelson Court. “There are a few boards (warped) on the main floor, but it’s not too bad.”

The boards on the sideline painted black that run in front of the team benches and scorer’s table appear to have sustained the most damage, with many of the boards curling at the seams. The rest of the damaged boards run to the back wall of the arena, under the reserved seating section.

None of the boards appeared to be buckled to the point of being a safety hazard.

The facilities staff inspected the Maverick Center on Wednesday and contacted Home Loan & Investment, the university’s insurance provider. CMU spokeswoman Dana Nunn said it is too early to estimate the amount of damage.

Colorado Mesa’s two associate athletic directors, Kris Mort and Bryan Rooks, were in their offices about 6 p.m. Tuesday when alarms went off. After checking offices and restrooms, reminding the few people who were still in their offices that yes, they did have to leave the building, they headed downstairs.

“We were walking down the hallway by the training room and you could smell a little bit of something like smoke. We said, ‘Man, this could be real,’ ” Mort said.

“Bryan looked to his right, and Jeff Rodgers (the baseball team’s pitching coach) was coming out of that stairwell, and they opened up that door and water came rushing out. It was like steam or smoke, a combination of the two, came billowing out of the doors.”

Water was pouring out of a light ballast, Mort said, making a sound like a rushing waterfall.

The faulty pipe is just outside the doors leading from the gym to an unheated stairwell to the basement. On either side are doors leading outside to the tennis courts and practice fields.

When firefighters arrived, they quickly fashioned large tarps into funnels, directing the water outside, Mort said, until they got the water shut off.

Still, water ran under the doors leading to the gym and reached about midcourt by the time the water was turned off. Rooks estimated about 1½ inches of water was on the floor for 30 to 45 minutes.

It also ran down the stairwell, with about four inches pooling at the bottom of the stairs — until the door was opened from the basement. It ran down the hallway and into the locker rooms, mainly the men’s coaches’ locker room and the football locker room. Most of that flooring is vinyl tile.

Some water apparently seeped through the gym floor and damaged ceiling tiles in the basement, including the weight room, which took some water, but it has a rubberized floor.

The damage to the arena floor isn’t significant enough to postpone tonight’s wrestling dual between CMU and California Baptist at 7 p.m., and Rooks said the pipe was scheduled to be repaired Wednesday afternoon.

The basketball teams play in Pueblo and Colorado Springs this weekend. Second semester classes don’t begin until Jan. 22.

“Thank God it didn’t happen at 3 or 4 in the morning when nobody’s here,” Mort said. “They were able to get custodial staff in right away and called in reinforcements from other parts of campus.

“I don’t know if it was a break or what, but it was a lot of water. I don’t know how many gallons per second, but it was per second, not per minute. It was a lot of water.”


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