June 9, 2023


A water main break on Jan. 10 forced the evacuation and closure of Conestoga College.

Doon campus was evacuated and shut down around 11:15 a.m. due to the water main break that occurred on Old Carriage Drive.

Around 8,000 students were in the school at the time when the announcement was made to shut the school doors.

James Donald, a third-year accounting student, said he was next in line to get food in the cafeteria when the evacuation was ordered.

“Someone came through and told everyone they had to shut everything down, the campus is closed,” Donald said. He added the cafeteria stayed open long enough to allow everyone to purchase food.

Jonathan Friesen, transit supervisor at Grand River Transit, arrived shortly after the evacuation to arrange for and co-ordinate additional buses and to make sure students boarded buses calmly and safely.

Friesen also kept the mood light despite the crowding by conversing with students while they waited for the next bus.

Kevin Mullan, Conestoga’s vice-president of corporate services, said the decision to close the school was made due to the diminishing water supply.

“Washrooms were losing water and our fire suppression system and fire sprinklers weren’t working. I am happy with the evacuation and how students and faculty evacuated. The only complaint we had was that the parking area where some people waited for hours to get out. We couldn’t control that due to it not being an emergency situation. If it was an emergency situation like, for example, a fire, I’d imagine that the cops would be directing traffic, but again, that’s not our call for them to do that.”

Conestoga’s Doon campus reopened and all classes were running on Saturday.

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