PROVO — Orem's Evelyn Mitchell found herself stranded at BYU's Marriott Center early Thursday afternoon.
She and her husband were attending the 92nd year of the university's annual Campus Education Week, but after he left campus to buy a birthday present a water main broke in the Marriott Center parking lot, forcing workers to shut off all water to the bathrooms and drinking fountains.
The Mitchells don't have cellphones, so when Education Week program administrator Bruce Payne canceled the day's remaining three classes, she was stuck waiting for her husband to return.
Payne said early Thursday evening that a crew found the source of the leak and was repairing it. "All classes are on for (Friday)," he said.
That will be welcome news for the Mitchells.
"When we were younger, we'd go all over campus," she said. "Now we just come to the Marriott Center and stay all day, and we love it."
Leah Lehmuller, 22, a BYU recreation management major from Morris, Illinois, was driving past the Marriott Center with a fellow Education Week student employee when she saw water bursting from between the curb and the pavement in the northwest corner of the parking lot by the traffic light on University Parkway.
"The pressure broke the pavement in several places in the parking lot," Lehmuller said. "It cracked the pavement and was coming up out of the ground. The water was slanting down the lot to the curb where it was reaching the tops of the tires of cars parked against the curb."
Some conferencegoers moved their cars. Other vehicles were towed out of the way while a crew began to tear up the pavement.
After the classes were canceled, Juleen Durrant guided her 90-year-old father-in-law and 85-year-old mother-in-law — the Vernon, Utah, couple has attended Education Week for more than 30 years — out of the Marriott Center.
She said they were headed to lunch at Wendy's, where they were going to sit down and hash out new plans to attend different classes for the rest of the day.
Education Week offers 25-30 classes an hour throughout the day from Tuesday through Friday. Payne said other classes absorbed most of those who left the Marriott Center. Some had to be turned away from classes that reached capacity.
Email: [email protected]