By: Taylor Fulkerson
Water rained down from a burst sprinkler line in the Commons Apartments for over one hour early on the morning of Jan. 8, leaving inches of standing water on the floor. It only took a few more hours before the deluge soaked through all four floors of the building, affecting dozens of apartments.
Last week’s subzero temperatures caused plumbing problems across the country, involving extensive leaks in three buildings on campus, affecting both students and professors.
Two other buildings experienced less extensive leaks. The apartments of three resident assistants and two resident suites in Buenger Hall were affected as well as the eighth and third floors of Schott Hall, said Provost Scott Chadwick in an email to the Xavier community on Jan. 9.
Repairs began immediately after the flooding in all three buildings, but extensive damage in the Commons Apartments caused one wing of the building — all room numbers ending in 11 to 20 on all four floors — to be closed until Sunday.
Huge drying equipment, brought in from as far away as Indianapolis, Ind., or Colorado, was installed next to the building to increase air flow in the sealed wing.
To allow for workers to enter the building, Xavier police staffed entrances to the Commons Apartments immediately after the incident. An outside security firm took over on Thursday evening, supposedly both to relieve a stretched Xavier police force as well as for insurance reasons.
Students from the lower three floors of the Commons Apartments were permitted to move back into the building on Sunday. According to a Xavier webpage created to field questions about the event, students moving back in were provided pizza as well as free laundry services and cleaning supplies to facilitate their move back.
Students from the fourth floor were not so lucky. They were relocated to provisional housing at
the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati as they returned to campus from the winter holiday with small stipends to help with food and transportation costs.
They were to be allowed to move back into their apartments as of 5 p.m. on Jan. 15.
Many students experienced damage to personal items that were left in the building.
No reimbursement or compensation for damages is expected in accordance with item 11 of the university’s Housing Agreement, which says, “The University does not assume responsibility for theft, loss or damage to a resident’s personal property and the student hereby releases the University from any liability.”
However, an emergency fund has been set up “to replace necessary goods for students with financial need.”
The collection at student Masses in Bellarmine Chapel on Jan. 12 is also to be used for students affected by the burst pipes.
Updated information on the burst pipes and repairs to the Commons Apartments can be found at http://www.xavier.edu/commons.