Pipe Bursts at Cogswell ArtSpace Causing Major Flooding, Fear of Ceiling Collapse

Bradford’s Cogswell ArtSpace is dealing with the aftermath of major flooding that resulted when a pipe in the hundred-year-old school burst on Wednesday.

Cogswell’s Danielle Smida revealed the news on social media late Wednesday after caretakers and members of the Haverhill Fire Department managed to stop the flooding. Damage is not yet known.

As Smida explained, the city-owned building is not heated and the sprinkler system that was unmaintained for over a decade still had water inside.

“Unfortunately, today a pipe from the sprinkler system on the second floor broke, likely from where water accumulated, froze and thawed,” Smida said. “The result is water on three floors of Cogswell at the moment.”

Just this week, city councilors complained of a lack of staff to oversee maintenance at city-owned properties.

Tina Fuller assesses the damage. (Photograph courtesy of City Councilor Colin F. LePage.)

The building is currently off-limits for fear the ceilings could collapse.

“Our hearts are breaking thinking about the new damage,” Smida added.

Damage to Cogswell. (Photograph courtesy of City Councilor Colin F. LePage.)

Funding for repairs may soon be on the way. Just this week, Haverhill City Councilors backed the organization’s application for a $400,000 grant from the state Cultural Council. If approved, the grant would double the organization’s treasury.

“What you’re trying to do would be transformational, not only for the building but for the people of the city,” Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan told Cogswell’s Tina Fuller.

In September, the Methuen Festival of Trees donated $10,000 to Reinvent Cogswell for upgrades to the entry hallway. October’s American Dog Show raised an additional $1,500 for the center. The group is still waiting to learn whether Gov. Charlie Baker will sign off on a $260,000 bond approved by the Legislature last year.