Broken UNM Taos water main closes campus


University of New Mexico-Taos Klauer campus shut down its operations Friday, (Dec. 1) due to a broken water main Thursday, Nov. 30 that town workers had to shut down for repairs.

Classes resumed as normal Monday, but at the branch's southern location portable toilets and sinks had to be brought in for students to use in place of normal bathrooms until the water pressure could be restored. A similar incident occurred one year prior at the campus and both town and UNM officials are seeking an alternative solution to the incident which shut the campus down just two weeks before final exams.

"We're trying to mitigate the problems for people as much as we can," said UNM-Taos Communications Director Bill Knief. "These things happen but we're hoping to get a permanent fix."

According to town of Taos Facilities Director Francisco Espinoza, the water pipe is on a segmented line that was damaged seven years prior and replaced with the existing pipe. The town is currently looking for a quote from engineers to have the situation fully repaired by the spring. Crews are working to restore water to the campus which had no water on Monday (Dec. 4), but water was restored sometime before Wednesday. The crews were unable to work on the issue over the weekend as they were waiting for a specialty part to be delivered from Albuquerque.

"Water coming from town is hitting a corner and its the weak point of the line," Espinoza said. "We understand this is an inconvenience for UNM."

Espinoza said the future repairs will replace the segmented pipe and install a straight line to prevent additional breaks in the area.

Childcare facilities at the Klauer Campus remained closed Monday as running water is required to keep those facilities open, however UNM-Taos officials opened Monday to allow students the time to attend classes and study for finals.

The break comes as the third incident in the past two years at the campus according to UNM-Taos officials. According to UNM-Taos Facilities Operations Manager Rudy Baca, the university is in constant communication with the town of Taos and both are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

"It's close to finals week and really crucial to be open," Baca said.

Baca encouraged students to stay tuned with their Lobo Alerts and message boards for updates and said the university will keep students and faculty aprised of information as it comes up.

UNM-Taos officials had confirmed Wednesday (Dec. 6) that water had been restored to the campus.