Pipe Burst Causes Chaos for Returning Students

 Returning students weren’t the only ones ready to burst into the resident halls. Water was also ready to make some waves in the dorm rooms.

 On Jan. 14, a water pipe burst in a hall of the fourth floor of Lenape Hall, releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of water on the floor, affecting 10 dorm rooms in the north wing. The cause of the leak has been pointed to a broken clamp on a sprinkler line. 

Students who were living in the affected area were contacted by Residence Life prior to the student move in date, some of whom had to be temporarily housed in another location.

“They reached out to me a few days before the return date and they mentioned that there was a pipe burst,” said Garrick Johnson, a third year history major and resident of Lenape Hall. “Initially, I was concerned, as anyone might be, but they told me that they had been inspecting rooms and that mine was, thankfully, one of the ones that hadn’t been affected.”

To return the rooms into habitable conditions again, the flooded regions were dried, drywall, insulation and fire alarm components had to be removed and replaced, along with a new coat of paint and disinfectant to the damaged walls. According to Assistant Vice President of Facilities, John Shupe, repairs to the damaged structure cost approximately $300,000. 

To ensure the structural integrity of the pipes an outside contractor, ServPro, was commissioned to make the repairs, and the campus facilities staff reviewed the work done. Despite the reassurances, some students are hesitant on believing that this scenario won’t happen again.

“I have to say, it was still a confusing thing to hear about. I figured that [the school] would be a little better prepared for the winter than that,” Johnson said. While the cause for the pipe burst was not caused by winter conditions, it is possible that the cold may have contributed the breaking of the sprinkler clamp.

There are still repairs to be made however as the elevator in Lenape Hall has been out of service since the move in time period.

“I think water got into the elevator,” said Veronica Peck, a Lenape resident in her second year. She was notified by her Resident Director that the third and fourth floors of the building experienced damages, but the elevator has caused some frustrations for the whole building.

“Move in day was a little rough,” said Peck.  “I was lucky to have friends help me out, but my mother and 82 year old grandfather couldn’t make the trip up three floors.” 

Peck also mentioned a friend of hers who had twisted their ankle, and that the broken elevator is not ideal given their situation. Said student declined to speak on their experiences themself, but Peck is advocating for the repairs to be made as soon as possible for those with limited mobility.

No timeline on the repairs has been given at the time of reporting. Shupe thanks the students, along with their families, for the support patience and understanding of the situation.

If students find any water damage within their halls they should report it to their Hall’s Resident Director or Resident Assistant.