The campus is closed and staff will work remotely at least until the governor announces the reopening of the New York City Region. See the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates page.

41 Cooper Square FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (as of February 8, 2019)

How much damage was there?

More than 12,000 gallons of water entered 41CS for approximately 35 minutes early Saturday morning. The extent of damage from the water was significant and on every floor; however, there are many spaces that weren’t damaged at all.

B&G responded immediately on Saturday with a complete sweep of the building, going into every space to triage immediate steps for addressing any safety issues, drying out the building, and removing wet carpet and drywall.  Similarly, the IT team moved swiftly to complete its assessment of all technology and computers on the weekend, restored servers and services, and has been replacing hardware and computers to ensure classrooms and labs are ready when the building reopens.  (Moodle was up and running on Sunday, and Colleague was operational by Monday afternoon.)

How did the flooding happen?

A heating coil, sprinkler head, and related pipe on the roof burst due to freezing temperatures Friday night into Saturday, resulting in a significant amount of water in the building.

I am very worried about my office/locker/exhibition/materials/work/etc.  Why haven’t I been able to get in to get those items out of the building?

The facilities and IT teams have been working around the clock to make sure the building is safe and prepare it to reopen.  To do that, it was necessary to limit the number of people in the building to essential personnel only and then to only allow a limited number of department and administrative designees who could be safely escorted through the building to assess and document any damage. 

I heard that there was a lot of damage but then when I was allowed into the building, it really didn't look that bad. Is this being over-dramatized?

It’s not.  With 12,000 gallons of water in the building, there are a multitude of safety factors to consider in returning the building to normalcy as quickly as possible.  The buildings and grounds crew along with important partnerships with external service organizations have been working tirelessly to dry out the building, remove and replace drywall, remove carpeting, repair/replace vital building systems like the elevators and fire alarms, monitor air quality, protect and preserve critical materials, etc.

Will insurance cover this?

We expect insurance to cover the expenses associated with this event.  We are working closely with our insurance provider and will need everyone’s assistance in carefully documenting all of the damage during the next few weeks so we can send a complete file to our carrier.

I am worried about my things and haven't been allowed in. How will I know if my work and/or belongings are damaged?

On Wednesday and Thursday, deans, administrators and technicians responsible for each department and school were able to conduct initial walk-throughs of their spaces with B&G and Conservation Center personnel.  These designees took note of damaged work and belongings and, in the case of impacted student work/materials/belongings, will be reaching out to specific students to develop plans to address it. As more people are approved to enter the building, each person will have an opportunity to review their belongings for any damage and report them to Buildings and Grounds.

My work is damaged. Is there anything that can be done?

In those cases where the work can be repaired, we have conservation experts working with us to do so. If the damaged item is technology, IT and lab technicians will play a major role in assessing the damage. All damaged items will be reported to our insurance carrier.  We are hopeful that with the extensive, professional remediation work that has been taking place this week, damage is being limited and the majority of items will be able to be repaired.

Will insurance cover damage of my work and/or belongings?

We will be submitting all damage claims to our carrier.  This will require that each individual work with B&G to thoroughly document the extent of the damage.  A separate email will be coming from the facilities team that will provide step-by-step instructions for preparing a claim with B&G. 

My supplies were damaged. I really need them to continue my work, and I can't afford to buy more. What should I do?

All damaged items should be reported for reimbursement through the insurance claims processing system. If you need supplies immediately, please talk with your dean or department manager.

Will somebody be available to help if I find that my things are damaged or missing when I finally get in?

Once the 41CS is reopened, B&G staff, IT, and security personnel will all be available to assist people in the building.  If damaged items include paper, books, film or art, the Conservation Center personnel will assess the damage and recommend a plan for remediation. If you feel something is damaged, please contact your dean or department head. Damaged items should be documented and submitted through the insurance claims process.  (Step-by-step instructions will be circulated on how to do this.)

Please note that other than moving items from wet floors to higher, drier spaces, personal items have not been moved or removed from offices, classrooms, labs, studios, etc.

What should I be doing about the classes and assignments I'm missing?

The best advice is for you to be in direct contact with your faculty and deans.  To be clear, the building closure this week does not in any way jeopardize a successful completion of the spring semester or graduation.  Our Cabinet has been in daily contact since the weekend and has been making recommendations to faculty on how best to move forward.  Toni Torres is working to develop plans with our deans and faculty on class rescheduling and is also working with the New York State Department of Education to secure the maximum flexibility for semester requirements once 41CS is back up and running.

Will I still be able to graduate on time?

Yes, the building closure this week does not in any way jeopardize a successful completion of the spring semester or graduation.

I heard a rumor that this could jeopardize Cooper's accreditation. Is that true?

Absolutely not.

Why were faculty and staff able to get into the building earlier this week but not students?

Because of the complex clean-up that is in process, it has not been possible to accommodate large numbers of people in the building.  However, we understood that there were/are concerns about critical materials in the building, so we scheduled 30-minute walk-throughs for designees of every academic and administrative department in 41CS so that spaces and materials could be assessed and triaged.  As soon as we can safely let large numbers of people into the building, all students, faculty, and staff will be able to come in, assess their materials, work, and other belongings, and resume classes. 

How will you determine the building is safe to reenter?

The building will be considered safe when it is determined that there are no electrical, environmental or remediation hazards; when moisture testing of drywall and air quality testing remain in normal ranges; and when elevators are operating.

What steps will be taken to ensure this won't happen again?

We can never completely prevent our building from damage caused by extreme weather conditions, however, all of the learning from this disaster recovery is further informing our emergency preparedness so that we can continually improve our ability to protect our physical plant and respond to future events.




  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.