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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE library restoration continues; restrooms still closed

The men’s restroom of the J. Ardis Bell Library is stripped down to prepare for the floor replacement and updates required for compliance with federal laws.  Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian
The men’s restroom of the J. Ardis Bell Library is stripped down to prepare for the floor replacement and updates required for compliance with federal laws. Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian

By Gary Collins/reporter

The men’s restroom of the J. Ardis Bell Library is stripped down to prepare for the floor replacement and updates required for compliance with federal laws.  Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian
The men’s restroom of the J. Ardis Bell Library is stripped down to prepare for the floor replacement and updates required for compliance with federal laws. Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian

After thousands of students and more than 80 semesters, the J. Ardis Bell Library on NE Campus is beginning to show its age.

Administration decided to close the restrooms late in the fall semester for renovations.

“ The restrooms are on the second floor, which feels like the first floor as you’re walking in,” said Mike Tankersley, NE plant superintendent. “Right below the restrooms is the break area for the [Library] staff. We had a leak, and it leaked down into the staff break room.”

The Library is one of the original buildings built when NE Campus opened in 1968, so the restroom floors are more than 40 years old.

Maintenance crews checked the plumbing in the Library and found one of the drains coming from the subfloors leaking and thought it was the cause.

Tankersley said normally the floor of a two-story building like the Library will have a rubber coating under a tile floor so any leaks can be contained by the rubber. However, after 40 years, the rubber had deteriorated.

“ We fixed some plumbing issues replacing some wax rings around the toilet. A few weeks later, another leak happened in that same spot,” he said. “When we really got serious and investigated what happened, we found those bathroom floors were the original. And when the custodial staff would go in and clean, the floor would get wet, and it would seep down through the grout between the tiles.”

Under the first floor lies a subfloor. The water would gather in a certain place and run down into the break room.

“ It wasn’t the sewer water like everyone thought it was. The floor just completely deteriorated,” he said. “If we put water on it, it just went straight through into the next floor.”

Contractor Chris Campbell inspects the air vents and plumbing in the men’s restroom Friday.  Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian
Contractor Chris Campbell inspects the air vents and plumbing in the men’s restroom Friday. Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian

At the latest, Tankersley expects the restrooms to open after students return from spring break. Because of classes, work has been scheduled around Library hours. During spring break, maintenance should be able to work unimpeded.

“ We expected it to take less time, but we had a couple bumps in the road, waiting on materials and permits from the City of Hurst,” Tankersley said.

Because the restrooms were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilites Act, the District decided to completely renovate and bring them up-to-date. Until work is finished, NE Campus students and staff have to go to nearby buildings to use the facilities.

“ It’s very inconvenient, but it has become normal for us to leave the building,” said Library student assistant Daniel Lim. “There are some people who are really inconvenienced by it. We have one librarian who uses a cane, so it’s a problem. Everyone here hates it as much as the students do.”

Signs are posted on the Library’s front door about the closed restrooms, but students do not always notice.
“ We have some students who point out the sign on the door should be changed to ‘until further notice,’” he said.

Because of the leak, the Library break room is also closed until the restroom work is completed.
“ It’s very annoying because we don’t know for sure when it will open again,” said student assistant Brenda Ayako.

Despite the inconvenience, Library staff are pleased with the progress.

“ It already looks better, and they’ve cleaned it,” Lim said.

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