The hub of the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus will be closed for at least two weeks while crews work to repair the damage caused by a fire main break that caused extensive damage to the building and offices.

University officials posted an alert on Sunday warning students, employees and faculty that the Woodbury Campus Center will be closed beginning Monday until further notice. The closure could last for more than two weeks.

According to the alert, an underground fire main burst late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, sending a torrent of water into the complex. Parts of the Woodbury Campus Center got 6 inches of water.

Staff members from several university departments along with the Portland Fire Department responded to the break on Sunday morning. Engineers were brought in to assess the damage and will try to determine what caused the broken pipe.

Nancy Davis Griffin, USM’s chief operations officer, said Sunday evening in a telephone interview that the campus center serves as the hub of the Portland campus, not only providing hot meals to the university community, but serving as office space for a number of university programs that will be forced to relocate.

Griffin said the major impact of the closure will be on the Portland campus dining services and food court. Meals will be available at three other locations in Portland, but they will be more of the “grab and go” variety, not the hot meals that are served at the campus center.

Meals on the Portland campus will be available in the Glickman Library, the first floor of Luther Bonney Hall and on the second floor of the law school for the duration of the closure. Brooks Dining Hall is another dining option, but it is located on the university’s Gorham campus.

Books that were ordered by students for fall classes will be moved from the bookstore at the campus center to the Glickman Library. Student employees of the campus center should check with supervisors for new work location assignments. The meditation and prayer space at the campus center will be relocated to Room 714 of the Glickman Library.

The Woodbury Campus Center is at the heart of USM’s Portland campus, between Falmouth and Bedford streets.

Griffin said another update will be sent out to the university community by the end the day on Monday.

 


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