Survey team says UTC's Grote Hall structurally sound
The sinkhole at UTC caused classes at Grote Hall to be cancelled Monday. WRCBtv.com photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Several classes and exams were canceled at UTC Monday because a sinkhole opened up near a building on campus. The university sent out a mass email and text alert Sunday night telling students and staff about the sinkhole. Part of the ground gave way just outside Grote Hall. The administration closed the building as a precaution.
"It's pretty big," says UTC Freshman Margo Katsotis.
Students at UTC stop and stare, many of them taking pictures of the sinkhole that suddenly opened up next to Grote Hall on campus. The hole is about seven feet long and 15 feet deep.
"It's pretty funny it happened outside the geology building, that we had a sinkhole," says Katsotis with a laugh.
She says news spread quickly Grote Hall was closed.
"I know a lot friends who had a psych exam in there and they were pretty excited they didn't have to study all night."
She is not disappointed either.
"I was pretty excited because I have math class in there. It's always good not to have math class," says Katsotis.
"It's kind of scary, actually," says Freshman Samantha Garcia.
Other students like Garcia are puzzled.
"Whenever we heard about it we were like, 'Well, who found it? Did somebody fall? How did that happen? How did this come about? Did somebody just walk by it? Did someone fall in it?"
"When people see sinkholes now on the news they think of these, like, big giant things that are sucking in cars and buildings. And that's not what we have here at all," says university spokesperson Chuck Cantrell.
Cantrell says the ground collapsed when a pipe broke.
"With the big rain yesterday, that's when the pipe broke. It washed out a lot of dirt which caused the pipe to collapse even more and caused even more water and dirt washing out," says Cantrell.
It just so happens the hole appeared on the other side of the old Lupton Library. There is a decades-old rumor on campus the old library is "sinking." You can see several cracks in the stairs.
"There's the urban legend that there's all these caves and tunnels underneath the library and that because of the weight of the books that the architects totally forgot to count in, the building might be collapsing," says Cantrell.
Cantrell says the rumor is not true.
"It's old. It's an old building now."
A new $48 million dollar library is set to open in few weeks.
In the meantime, a geology survey team says Grote Hall is structurally sound.
"It was just strictly a precautionary measure to make sure the building was sound and that we didn't want to put anybody at risk," says Cantrell.
Cantrell says classes should resume Tuesday. Channel 3 will let you know if that changes.