Large sinkhole causes distress on campus

On Bob Hayes Lane, a passerby will find the Al Lawson Multi-purpose Gymnasium, a student parking lot, the FAMU ROTC building and a large sinkhole. The hole may be large enough for a mini copper to nose dive in.

The Florida A&M Army ROTC building is located next to the hole and a few of FAMU’s employees are concerned.

“This is the second time it’s happened and in the identical place,” said FAMU Army ROTC employee Thomas Dye. “The physical plant fixed it before: they checked all the piping; filled it. They did everything they could do and then repaved over it and then we had the same sort of problem again.”

FAMU Physical Plant Director Kendall Jones said that it has not been confirmed that the hole is a sinkhole, but the hole first appeared in October.

According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Web site, sinkholes are depressions or holes in the land’s surface that occur throughout Florida and are the result of the dissolving of the underlying limestone.

While sinkholes can be shallow or deep, FAMU’s eroding hole seems to be getting larger and deeper.

Jones said that the hole’s first occurance was attributed to a storm water drain leak, which created a cavity around the piping.

“The hole has increased in size due to frequent rain which has caused substantial soil erosion,” Jones said.

A large chunk of asphalt was seen in the hole along with a large rusted pipe, which was said to be connected to the Army ROTC building’s water supply.

“The original repair work was focused on the storm water drain pipe,” Jones said. “Once the pipe was repaired, the hole was filled and packed. This time, we have to look beyond the drain pipe to determine if other problems are present.”

In the beginning of January, there were no barricades seen blocking the hole to prevent any accidents. Now, four steel barricades along with caution tape surround the hole.

Jones said they are in the process of securing the services with a contractor to begin an exploratory dig in an attempt to determine the origin of the issue.

“The physical plant was checking all the pipes and making sure we didn’t have a leak that was causing it [the erosion],” Dye said. “It’s going to take a while and a lot of fill and everything else to fix it. It could happen again later on.”

Dye said the hole blocks a high traffic area to Bragg stadium. Jones said he has not received any complaints about the blocked entrance, however, he did mention two additional entrances located off of Perry Street.