[media-credit name=”Kristen Riello” align=”alignnone” width=”500″][/media-credit]
Winter weather caused flooding and power outages on the Mount Carmel campus throughout the past few days.
The incidents began on Sunday afternoon when a small heating element was tripped off in the Carl Hansen Student Center, according to Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations Keith Woodward. A hallway in the Student Center lost heat, causing a pipe to freeze and a sprinkler head to break. Water started to leak into the area by the ATM and vending machines on the first floor.
Facilities closed three conference rooms in Carl Hansen that afternoon and on Monday so that they could dry, but the rooms were open on Tuesday.
Monday evening and nighttime snowfall and freezing rain caused the university to cancel shuttles after 10 p.m., except for a limited service between Mount Carmel and York Hill, according to an email from Parking and Transportation Coordinator Shanon Grasso.
Freshman Sara Franck had night class on Monday.
“It was kind of annoying to get there and it was hailing too, she said. “I think [Tuesday] morning was fine, but I think later classes yesterday should have been cancelled.”
Then, a water pipe burst early Tuesday morning in Village 600s, forcing students to relocate to other rooms for the time being.
Sophomore Madeline Fitzpatrick lives in the Village 600s building. She said in an email she and her roommates woke up around 4:20 a.m. to the sound of blaring alarms in their building and direct rooms.
“We evacuated the building and waited for Public Safety to come and tell us what was going on,” Fitzpatrick said. “Public Safety told us we were fine and to go back to bed. However, the flashing light from the fire alarms continued to go off for about another five minutes.”
But eventually Fitzpatrick said she decided to go back downstairs to see what was going on.
“They told me there was a large leak upstairs and asked us if the water had began to seep through into our room yet,” Fitzpatrick said. “About 10 minutes later we reopened the main door downstairs to see water rushing down the stairs of the upstairs apartment where the pipe had burst.”
She said around 6:30 a.m. Public Safety instructed her and her roommates to pack a bag and go to Residential Life to receive a temporary new room in New Village. Fitzpatrick said Residential Life said they currently do not know when they will be allowed to return to their rooms, but it could be a few days, or a few weeks.
Fitzpatrick said she hopes the university will improve the way they handle these types of situations in the future.
“Apparently this is a pretty frequent occurrence and the university needs to figure out a better way to handle the pipes in the buildings when the temperature is constantly changing and a better plan as what to do if the pipes do burst,” Fitzpatrick said.
The university also called students, faculty and staff around 6:20 a.m. stating classes were cancelled until 9:30 a.m. because of the weather.
At 11 a.m., the Mount Carmel campus lost power due to a downed line, which cut traffic off on New Road near the New Road entrance. The university sent out an alert stating the power company used by the university, United Illuminating, expected power would be restored by 12:30 p.m. Power was restored to the Mount Carmel campus by 1 p.m. and students, faculty and staff were alerted via text, email and phone call.
Students were also asked in an email on Tuesday to move their cars from North Lot, New Village, Hill Circle and Dorm Road, so Facilities could clear snow.
Sophomore Chris Artabane said he was not bothered by the power outage.
“[The power outages] haven’t really affected my day at all,” he said. “It went out in my class for the last half hour, but other than that it hasn’t really affected it much since they got the generator going. Our power went out in our room, but we still had this little light going. The WiFi went down, and that probably had the biggest effect.”
Some students, such as sophomore Chris Brachlow, said they were glad to have a few classes cancelled because of the weather.
“My alarm clock didn’t go off in the morning, but I got lucky and my class was cancelled anyway,” Brachlow said. “Also, I wasn’t able to do my work since my work requires WiFi from my room and I wasn’t notified that there was WiFi in [Carl Hansen] so I didn’t know where to go to do my work this morning. But besides that, it was kind of nice to have a break from my classes.”
Reporting by Sarah Doiron, David Friedlander, Tara O’Neill and Julia Perkins