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Clemson prepares facilities, resources for Winter Break: what you need to know


While many prepare for the holiday season by gift shopping and booking travel, University Facilities and partners have been hard at work ensuring main campus buildings avoid a repeat of last year’s flood damage that resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of damage.

Record-low temperatures and a loss of steam for heating resulted in extensive flood damage to dozens of buildings on main campus, including R.M. Cooper Library, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and several residence halls.

The following provides a checklist of items faculty, staff and students can do to prevent damage to property, as well as the availability of some main campus resources.

Prepare your home and workspace

For employees away from Clemson during winter break, a few simple steps can help prepare your workspace for safety and cleanliness:

  • Remove any trash with food to common area containers.
  • Unplug any electronic devices not needed for critical operations, such as holiday decorations, chargers, lamps, and monitors.
  • Turn off office lights.
  • Close blinds and lock windows and doors.
  • Make sure faucets in bathrooms and break rooms are turned off and not dripping.
  • Take any valuable personal items with you.
  • Students should secure any outside items (bikes, scooters, grills, etc.) that may be left unattended during the break.
  • At home, winterize outdoor faucets before temperatures fall below 35 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent outdoor pipes from bursting and causing flooding.

Prepare yourself and home for winter weather with some more important tips from Emergency Management, and graduating students moving out by December 22 should prepare their room or apartment prior to departure as well.

To students and employees staying in the area over the next few weeks, be aware of the availability of some main campus resources:

  • Dining venues will be open throughout finals and intermittently after exams have concluded; hours of operation are updated on Campus Dish.
  • Redfern Health Center will be closed on Monday, Dec. 18 for a disaster recovery drill, but will operate on a normal schedule Dec. 19-22.
  • Samuel J. Cadden Chapel will be open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Paw Pantry, located in Sirrine Hall, is a resource for students facing food insecurity; check out their website for hours of operation during finals week and prior to graduation on Dec. 21.

What Facilities has done to prepare

Throughout the Spring semester, Facilities coordinated multiple after-action review sessions, working with Duke Energy, Fort Hill Natural Gas, and Clemson University Emergency Management to determine exactly what happened and how to address areas of improvement. Teams across main campus have implemented preventative measures ahead of winter weather, including:

  • Testing of the University’s backup steam source
  • Improved communication and pre-planning across operational units
  • Creating emergency personnel management plans
  • Testing and utilizing energy management alarms
  • Communication with Building Security Coordinators and residents on building and room preparation
  • Finalizing plans to have more staff onsite during severe cold periods

“What our team, and others, did last year to recover and minimize disruption to the Spring semester was phenomenal,” said Todd Barnette, chief facilities officer. “However, our biggest challenge was to learn from the incident and make all possible preparations to see that the risk of a recurrence is drastically reduced. I believe we have done just that.”