Breaking News
More () »

'I couldn't believe the water damage': Bibb approves $250K to fix Bibb tennis center after burst pipe

Parks and Recreation Director Robert Walker says a burst pipe flooded the Randy Stephens Tennis Center Christmas night.

MACON, Ga. — The Randy Stephens Tennis Center in south Bibb County is drying out after a busted pipe flooded the building in December.

Fans blow constantly in the lobby, trying to move air and dry the place. The burst pipe caused thousands of dollars in damage, and Macon-Bibb County is paying up.

The 'new normal' at the tennis center includes fans, hanging wires and exposed cinderblocks, all decorating the lobby.

"When I walked in the first time, it was more of a 'wow' factor. I couldn't believe the water damage from a pipe of this size," said Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation Director Robert Walker. "We had a pipe burst at the Randy Stephens Tennis Center."

Christmas night, parks and recreation staff got an alert on their phones. The fire alarms were going off. Turns out, it was rushing water from a pipe on the second floor.

"We're all familiar with the brutal cold weather that we had Christmas weekend," Walker said.

That freezing weather froze the fire suppression pipes. Once it thawed and the leak got worse, they shut off the water. It kept draining until there was no more water in the pipes, causing even more damage. Contractors had to remove all the sheetrock. 

"All of the carpet came out. All of the tile flooring came out. We also had to remove all furniture," Walker said.

All the repairs come at a price: about $250,000 from the county's general fund. As the building sits air-drying, Walker stresses the South Bibb Recreation Center and tennis courts are open, just not the tennis center.

"They're able to come play free play here, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday," Walker said.

Walker says they tried to drain pipes where they could ahead of the weather, but he says they couldn't do that with the fire suppression system. He says they're looking into ways to avoid another situation like this.

The department hopes to have the building dried out next week. County Manager Keith Moffett says they may not need all $250,000, but they needed to have enough to continue making repairs.

Before You Leave, Check This Out