Ceiling of Lake Superior Hall falls as repairs are made to roof


GVL / Meghan Tripp

Jack Blake, Staff Writer

Located on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus, Lake Superior Hall (LSH) is home to the School of communications. LSH was one of the first buildings to be built on campus during the 1960s. The roof of the building is currently under construction. 

On Jan. 9, the drop ceiling of Lake Superior Hall began to cave in, causing damage to the classrooms and debris to scatter over the floor in some areas. No students or staff were hurt.  

“The main classroom that was affected was LSH 233,” said School of Communications Director Richard Besel.

Besel saw the damage after a faculty member asked him if there was work being done in LSH 233.

“We saw all this debris from the drop ceiling on the floor with addition to a light fixture kind of swinging and a vent,” Besel said. 

The ceilings in nearby classrooms were also beginning to bow downward. 

“We started right away moving sections of classes out of the adjacent room,” Besel said. 

Professors with classrooms in that hallway were given the discretion of whether to relocate or not. Besel said there was a group of GVSU’s Facilities workers analyzing the ceiling within an hour of its falling in order to find a solution.  

“We would get some water damage and they would replace the tiles,” Besel said. “Sometimes part of the roof would curl up on the side.”

This issue originated from previously noted problems that were in the process of being repaired on the roof of the building. 

In the fall of 2022, GVSU Maintenance identified a failure in the roofing system at Lake Superior Hall,” said Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning Karen Ingle. “Facilities Planning and Services immediately began a forensic investigation to determine the cause of the failure.” 

Ingle said that failure was caused because the roof had delaminated and immediate work was needed.​​ To fix the issues, all of the roof’s material has to be replaced. Contractors began to work on fixing the roof in December 2022.

“They found that some of the ceiling grid supporting the acoustic ceiling panels had begun to sag in some areas,” Ingle said. 

This is where the problem with the ceiling originated. Work was halted to reinforce the ceiling in certain areas. Ingle said that the issue with the ceiling was uncovered during the fixture of the roof, as the roof deck fasteners were concealed before this project started. 

The classroom itself is now back to normal and the project of fixing the roof of LSH has resumed. 

“It was within a couple days and it was all pretty much fixed (in the LSH 233 classroom),” Besel said. 

LSH still requires further attention and work. Ingle said a rough timeline for the fixture of the building is one to two months, depending on the cooperation of weather. The project will cost $460,000.