By Cristina Foglietta
Imagine a day with no running water in the shower. This happened on October 15, when a pipe burst at approximately 9:30 a.m. in Post Residence Hall, and was leaking in the HEOP computer lab. Post Hall consists of both the residence hall, the first three floors and offices, in the basement, including the Higher Education Opportunity Program. The Facilities Department responded by shutting down the water in the entire building, including both the dorms and offices.
The water was turned back on that night, but it was cold. “I was being tutored [in the HEOP lab] and there was a sound like a shower was being turned on, drops of water came down from the ceiling and about a minute later it was like a waterfall,” said Yisselis Ottenwalder, a junior Speech Pathology major, who goes to the HEOP building every Monday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Ottenwalder said the water was coming down from three tiles on the ceiling. She and her tutor moved right away because they and their belongings were getting wet. They went into another room nearby to finish their session, but she said that water was coming down like a stream in the entire building. “I never witnessed anything like this before,” said Ottenwalder.
“Tutoring was going on, there was a leak, minutes later we found it was gushing like Niagara Falls – and it was hot water,” said William Clyde, Jr., Director of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) Office. There was a stream of water coming down from the ceiling to the entrance of the basement of the building for half an hour, said Clyde. He said you had to roll up your pants to avoid getting wet. The lobby of the International Student Services offices and the entrance of Post were soaked. “Facilities were here in a heartbeat to fix the problem,” he said. They soaked up the water with three wet vacuums, found the source of the leak and shut it down, said Clyde. He said the leak in the pipe was caused by an overflow in the heating-cooling system. There was a leak in the HEOP office six years ago from a different source of water, Clyde said.
Due to the leak, the HEOP computer lab was not fully functional on October 15. This lab is for all students on campus, but mainly for students in the HEOP program. “There was a little disruption for the day; with tutoring students and other students not being able to print,” said Clyde. He said he is thankful it didn’t happen at night, then everything in the office would have been ruined. Facilities fixed the ceiling by replacing the tiles the next day. He said the Facilities Department takes pride in their work. “If you go in the computer lab now, you can’t tell that there was a problem,” Clyde said.
Many residents in Post Hall were inconvenienced with no running water in the showers during the day. As a Post Hall resident, the incident made me feel uncomfortable all day. The water actually got shut off while I was in the shower with conditioner in my hair, unaware of the situation. Many others had a negative experience. “It was terrible, I had to pack up all my shower stuff and go to Riggs. I had to wait to get in there to shower because I don’t know people in other buildings,” said a student who did not wish to give his name. Several others agreed that they were inconvenienced. “It was after lacrosse practice, there was cold water in the showers, I took one anyway,” said Katie Ventrella, a freshman Accounting major. Others were forced to take a cold shower as well. “Better to take a cold shower after practice than smell,” said Jessica Marsh, a sophomore Math Education major.
Some Post Hall residents, though, were not affected by the incident. “I took my shower the night before; I was gone all day,” said Cathleen Joseph a senior Digital Art and Design major. “It didn’t affect me; I was in class while it happened. I came back at the end of the day and it was back on,” said Veronica Hemmimger, a junior Criminal Justice major.
Clyde said he knows it was inconvenient for residents of Post Hall, but knowledge has been gained from this incident. “Two lessons have been learned, the value of water, hot water when we take a shower and wanting water to flow freely but not in places where we didn’t expect it-in the ceiling,” said Clyde. The Facilities Department is trying their best to prevent future problems. “The gentlemen who worked on it said they took care of the pipes in the ceiling and we shouldn’t have a problem again,” said Clyde.