Section: News

Fourth floor glass pane in Chalmers shatters, atrium closes

Fourth floor glass pane in Chalmers shatters, atrium closes

Private study room 427 will be closed until the glass is replaced. | SARA HALEBLIAN

On Tuesday morning, Kenyon students received a brief email announcing that parts of Chalmers Library were temporarily closed because of a “maintenance issue.” According to Assistant Director of Facilities Operations for Project Planning and Management Seth Millam, this closure was due to a pane of glass between the atrium and private study room 427 shattering overnight. 

This is not the first issue Chalmers Library has encountered since it opened just two months ago; on Sept. 7, the building was evacuated after a subcontractor ruptured an unmarked gas line. 

In this case, students were still able to access the 24-hour reading room and upper and lower levels of the library via the elevators. The atrium, the circulation desk, part of the Career Development Office’s (CDO) lobby and the affected study room were closed to keep library visitors safe. 

Management from Smoot Construction quickly developed a plan to address the situation, according to Millam. By early afternoon, representatives from the glass manufacturing company were on site and around 2 p.m., a Haulotte 263 trailer-mounted boom lift rolled into the atrium of Chalmers Library. Smoot Construction workers then removed the damaged panel. 

The atrium reopened for student use early Tuesday evening, and later that night an email announced the circulation desk had likewise reopened. 

Millam explained that the glass in question was tempered safety glass, which is made to break into small, granular pieces. He said that it is highly unlikely, but possible, for this type of glass to shatter, and it is generally due to minor imperfections in the glass, such as a small chip. 

“The fracture events are generally triggered as materials in the building expand/contract or move under different design loading scenarios,” Millam wrote in an email to the Collegian

Most of the glass in Chalmers has been installed for at least six months without incident, according to Millam. “Smoot Construction has made the glass manufacturer aware of the incident; however, they believe this to be an isolated event and don’t anticipate any findings that would require a large-scale replacement of the glass in the building,” he wrote.

According to Millam, replacement glass will be delivered and installed by the time the library opens on Thursday morning.

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