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January 23, 2007

Come Back, Sinks! Come Back!

As half of you know, and the rest have heard, the sinks disappeared from the men’s bathroom on the first floor of Legal Research. This was no prank. Mid-December maintenance on one of the sinks revealed a plumbing problem, so all three were removed. Once off the wall, the beloved basin sinks were found to be rusting badly, and were retired from service. The good news is that, once finished, the men’s bathroom will sport all new sinks and faucets.

Before those new sinks can be installed, all new plumbing and a counter must be installed. Plant Operations is responsible for general maintenance, for which the Law School pays a yearly fee. But plumbing upgrades and the installation of new counters and sinks are jobs closer to “building enhancements,” which the Law School handles and pays for itself. Ultimately, Lois Oerther, the Law School Facilities Manager, negotiated a deal whereby Plant Operations would pay for the plumbing services and the Law School would purchase and install the new Corian® countertop.
The timing certainly could have been worse, since the work was supposed to be finished over winter break. “I told them I had to have it done by January 10,” recalls Oerther. “Obviously that didn’t happen.” The sinks and counter were delivered in early January, and a plumber is standing by. The hold up has been funding from Plant Operations. That was resolved last Thursday, and construction is scheduled to be finished this Friday.

Despite the lack of sinks, the men’s bathroom remains open for business. In place of soap and water was a while-supplies-last box of a dozen or so bottles of Purell® Instant Hand Sanitizer (whose commercials carry the disclaimer “not a substitute for soap and water”). Whatever help they were, those bottles were gone in a few days, leaving some men to bemoan their shitty hands over LawOpen. It apparently never occured to these guys to use the bathroom by the lockers, the bathroom in the library, or the unisex one on the first floor of Hutchins, which all sport working plumbing.