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February 3, 2019

EDITORIAL: And Then They Burst

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In response to the burst pipes in Rockefeller Hall in the first week of the semester — a result of deferred maintenance — The Sun published an editorial on Jan. 31 in which we left our readers with the message, “Tomorrow will be another cold day in Ithaca. Who knows which pipes will burst?”

That very day, at 1 p.m., we received our answer: the pipes of Low Rise 6.

All this is not to say “we told you so” — though we did tell you so — but rather to reemphasize that too often, calls to fix Cornell’s most basic facilities remain lost in the laundry list of measures the University plans to take to improve student life.

This is especially the case when it comes to the Low Rises. In September 1969, The Sun reported that Low Rise 7, built in the same year as Low Rises 6 and 8, opened “surrounded by mud and construction, deprived of hot water and heat.” Again in March 1971, North Campus Low Rise residents faced “the problem of cold rooms.” And nearly half a century later, The Sun reported on long-awaited renovations on McGraw Hall — an original Arts Quad building that is aging as ungracefully as is the University’s neglect of its facilities.

Before The Sun is compelled to add a “How to Survive Crises of the ‘Burst Pipe’ Persuasion” to its Freshman Issue, we hope that Cornell takes action to fix its homes and classrooms. It’s no secret that Cornell is located on an icy hill, and substantial winter maintenance will continue to be a fact of life so long as there is an Ithaca campus. Repairing buildings, especially those with a history of being broken, should be a task free from bureaucratic restraints, and a priority for future capital improvement.