By: Jess Dela Cruz, News Writer
Flooding in SFU’s Interfaith Centre has temporarily caused it to be moved to the Maggie Benston Centre.
The Peak spoke with Victor Thomas, Director of the Interfaith Centre, and Todd Gattinger, P.Eng, Director, Maintenance & Operations of Facilities Services, about the flooding and temporary relocation. According to Thomas, the flooding began in the early morning on Tuesday, January 15. It was caused by a pipe that burst above the ceiling boards in the back room, releasing water and steam. Gattinger explained that the problem arose due to a combination of the age of the building and the cold weather.
Thomas added, “An incredible amount of water came out very quickly.”
The AQ hallway was blocked off with yellow tape and signs indicating that the floor was slippery, while maintenance workers tried to fix the leak.
Thomas added that chairs, tables, sound equipment, and religious objects were also damaged by water and steam. SFU retained the company FirstOnSite Restoration to assist with restoring the space to its original condition.
Over 1,500 students use the space weekly, including groups such as SFU’s Muslim Student Association. Mishaa Khan, the Muslim Student Association (MSA)’s Social Media Coordinator, spoke with The Peak regarding the temporary closure.
Khan told The Peak that the Interfaith Centre’s prayer mat “got completely soaked from the pipe burst [ . . . ] this is especially frustrating because it cost a little less than $800 and was paid mainly through donations from the MSA community.” She adds that other resources and equipment were damaged as well.
Khan stated that there is already a lack of space for Muslim students and staff to pray at SFU, and the temporary closure exacerbates the problem. The space provides only enough room for 7–8 people.
“This results in individuals praying outside the prayer room or waiting in line, risking being late for class,” she said. “Why not provide an adequate space for people of faith to practice their faith because of the role it plays on their mental health?”
The displacement of the staff and visitors of the centre is estimated to last around 4–6 weeks. The temporary rooms are in MBC 1304 and 1306. Thomas requests that students check the Interfaith Centre’s website or Facebook page for further updates.