University of Arkansas’ building sinking into campus ground

By U-Wire

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The journalism department at Arkansas might be headed for a crack-up – literally.

Some offices in the school’s journalism department are sinking because the grade of the slab on which that part of the Kimpel 109 building is based has settled, said Bob Beeler, associate director for design and construction.

Officials with University of Arkansas Facilities Management have known about the sinking for three months, and have tried to measure its progress by putting motion-monitoring devices on the cracks that have appeared in Kimpel, Beeler said. The movement stopped momentarily and then began again three weeks ago, he said.

“We know that it is a problem and we are on course to fix that,” Beelter said.

The recognition is after several complaints by journalism professors about Kimpel 109. The problems began two years ago when journalism professor Katherine Shurlds tripped over a crack at the threshold of the office, she said.

Since then, Facilities Management workers have planed the top of her door twice in order for her to open it, she said.

The crack she originally tripped over was fixed, but has since reappeared, Shurlds said. It is not the only thing that has cracked. Fissures have appeared in the walls of the offices, the main room and the closet on the northeast side of the building. Each one is measured with a monitoring device that determines if the fissure is widening.

Shurlds reported the problems to Facilities Management last January, she said.

She is not the only journalism professor to have complained about structural problems. Professor Ignatius Fosu has complained about his door being stuck as well. The level of the wall the door is on is believed to be the problem, Fosu said.