New UTC library floods, thousands of books potentially damaged - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New UTC library floods, thousands of books potentially damaged

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Staff at UTC's brand new library are scrambling to save hundreds of thousands of books after part of the building flooded last week. Hundreds of gallons of water filled the first and ground floors.

"I got an email about it. That it was flooded," says UTC Sophomore Amy Malo.
    
For students like Amy Malo, part of the UTC library is off limits.
 
"They've had these trucks out here like the day after the damage occurred. And it's just unfortunate the library's been open for a year," says Malo.

The $48 million facility opened in January of 2015. Now, almost a year to the day, it is a re-construction zone.
 
"We had an inch or two of standing water on this first floor. And then it managed to sneak through all of our floor outlets over there, through the carpet. And as you know the collection is downstairs," says Theresa Liedtka, Dean of the UTC Library.

Liedtka says around 10:30 last Monday night a sprinkler on the first floor broke.
 
"It ran for about an hour before it could get turned off."

About two thirds of the library's books got wet.
 
"About 300,000 volumes were potentially sprayed with water. A lot of musical scores, a lot of the art books, a lot of the literature stuff," says Liedtka.

Now staff members are throwing them in a large freezer to stop any potential mold.
 
"The collection has really been our main concern. We knew this infrastructure could get fixed back up in a couple of weeks time but the books, we're taking a lot of time to evaluate, hand by hand now to figure out whether or not they got wet, whether mold's become an issue," says Liedtka.

There is no estimate yet on how much the repairs will cost but they are covered by state insurance.
 
"It's all covered from what I understand. If a claim is over $100,000 you have to work a little more closely with the state. We are well over that. We are well over that already," she says.

There is still no word on what caused the sprinkler to break.

For now, Liedtka just cares about saving the books.
     
"Touching 300,000 books takes a long time! We just moved them in!"

Liedtka says they hope to have the first floor back open in the next two to three weeks. They hope to have the ground floor open in one to two months. 
 

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