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Shattered glass in the STEM atrium left atrium and room 464 closed indefinitely. Photo: Sarah Crookall.

STEM atrium and room 464 closed until further notice, cause unknown

On Dec. 16, an interior glass panel on the east side of the STEM complex shattered around 6 p.m. The incident left the building’s atrium and room 464 closed until further notice.

Currently, a review is underway to determine the cause and assess repairs.

“The review has been very thorough,” said Patrick Charette, director of institutional communications for University of Ottawa Facilities. “We went and examined every individual panel to see if there’s anything to detect, and at this point we still don’t know what happened.”

The damage occurred over the winter break on the fourth floor of conference room 464. Access to the main stairwell and the room is now restricted for safety, but additional facilities and classes are fully operational.

U of O Facilities says it acted immediately to clean the small pieces of glass that shattered along the floors and stairwell.

On Jan. 4, the university sent an email notifying students and staff of the closure.

Announcing temporary closure of the atrium, the email read, “This measure will allow Facilities to continue its review of the incident. If access to these areas is essential, you must contact Protection Services to determine if limited supervised access is feasible.”

The large glass panel, spanning several floors, is now boarded-off along with the surrounding atrium area, a measure Charette called the “main objective”.

Now the U of O is working on managing traffic through the building’s elevators beside the restricted area and main stairwell.

“The big thing is the stairs—because right now there is kind of a bottleneck at the stairs—we’re trying to address that particular issue,” said Charette.

Charette added that repairs will likely include both internal and external resources. “First you have to determine the cause then you can figure out solutions,” he said.

The U of O says once it has more information about the damage and reopening of the restricted areas it will notify students and staff immediately.

“We want to make sure the students, and the teachers are working in a safe environment,” said André Lambert, associate vice-president for University of Ottawa facilities.

Anyone with any information on the damage is encouraged to contact Protection Services at 613-562-5499 or protection@uOttawa.ca.