Lack of Water Closes Kresge Auditorium on Friday

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Christopher N. Kottke G (center, trumpet), Shanker S. Raman '09 (left, saxophone) and Cristian J. Derr '08 (right, trombone) play at the Festival Jazz Ensemble's Friday concert "Shades of Change." Kresge Auditorium was unexpectedly unavailable, so the group performed on Kresge Oval.
Michael mcGraw-Herdeg—The Tech

A fault in Kresge Auditorium's water system occurred Friday, May 4, disrupting performances by the Festival Jazz Ensemble and the Musical Theatre Guild. The Campus Activities Complex shut down Kresge because of a failure in the fire sprinkler system related to a lack of running water. Water was restored at around 9:40 p.m.

According to Phillip J. Walsh, director of the CAC, the failure in the water system was first discovered by service staff shortly after 5 p.m. According to Walsh, MIT Facilities was contacted immediately, but because staff had already left work, it took longer to respond to the problem than usual. Kresge was closed at around 7:45 p.m.

Walsh said that maintenance staff had performed mechanical work earlier in the day and may have forgotten to turn a water valve back on.

The fault in the water system highlighted another problem, Walsh said. No alarm indicating the water failure went off. It is uncertain if this resulted because no alarm is in the system or because the alarms failed to function, Walsh said.

The glitch in the water system disrupted two scheduled performances Friday night. The Musical Theatre Guild canceled its performance of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and returned money to all ticket holders. The MTG was aware of the failure as it was setting up for the show and was told to evacuate minutes before show time, said Carlos Cardenas '09, producer of the MTG musical.

The cast and orchestra waited outside for about one hour before they were allowed back into the building to change and retrieve their belongings, said Cristina A. Thomas G, MTG stage manager. Thomas said that the CAC staff efficiently informed the MTG members once the problem was fixed so that the members were able to give a free matinee performance the following afternoon, Saturday, May 5.

According to Aseem Kishore '08, who plays the trombone as part of the Festival Jazz Ensemble, security guards were stationed outside Kresge barring people from entrance at around 7:45 p.m. when he arrived to prepare for the performance. The director decided to continue the show, however, and staged the performance outside Kresge, Kishore said.

"It ended up being a really good show," Kishore said, adding that the audience seemed to enjoy hearing the concert in nice weather.