By: Jim Vogel – Staff Writer
By: Marissa Grimsley – Staff Writer

Days before students and faculty began to return to campus, the ‘Polar Vortex’ of 2014 left the University of Dayton with significant water damage from burst pipes in several major buildings on campus according to Vice President of Facilities Management Beth Keyes.

Damage occurred in Keller Hall, the Bookstore, an unoccupied section of the River Campus, and several residences in the student neighborhood as a result of the extreme cold temperatures, she said.

“Fortunately, no student property or belongings were affected by the incidents.” Keyes said.

However, as senior Spanish and pre-med major Karen Lehan explained, she was lucky to have moved in to 18 Lawnview Ave. early Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Walking in to what she described as a waterfall pouring out of the entry way ceiling, all of the residents of 18 Lawnview Ave. were fortunate not to have any damage to personal property, Lehan said.

“I was happy with how quickly Facilities Management responded to my call and came to turn off the water,” Lehan said.
“It is scary to think that if I hadn’t moved in early no one would have been aware of the problem.”

By Friday, Jan. 10, all of the repairs had been made to her house, she said.

In Keller Hall, UD law school classes were not interrupted and all repairs to classrooms have already been completed, Keyes said. Damage to the dry wall in the atrium will likely not be repaired until the next major break due to the disruptive nature of the repairs, Keyes said.

Julie Banks, the bookstore manager, said Tuesday, Jan. 7, at approximately 6:20 p.m., a pipe burst in the ceiling of the textbook department and consequently affected all parts of the store, as well as the Marianist learning center, the credit union and the post office. Since the pipe burst in the ceiling, the sprinkler system triggered the fire alarm and Public Safety responded.

With the aid of Mayberry’s Moving Company, 11 full-time bookstore staff members, nine student workers, UDit, Public Safety, facilities and grounds crew, the whole bookstore was fully functional in the MAC Gym Friday, Jan. 10 by 8:30 a.m.

“We worked until midnight on Tuesday and started again at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday,” Banks said. “We needed to move everything to the MAC gym as well as set up network capabilities, phones lines and security.”

Sophomore political science major Morgan Draves said she was impressed with how efficiently her textbook buying experience played out upon returning to campus.

“I was dreading shopping for my textbooks because I thought it would be so crowded and chaotic in the MAC gym under the circumstances. But within 15 minutes, I was checking out with all of my books and had no issues using my textbook scholarship,” Draves said.

Banks explained Facilities Management is still in the process of assessing the cost of damages and is still finalizing a timeline for repairs.

“As you can imagine, they took a lot out because of the water damage. My best guess for the repairs would be a month.” Banks said.

In response to the cancelling the online orders placed after Jan. 2, Banks explained with the time constraint resulting from the move and water damage to the boxes that are used for separating the orders, it became impossible to fulfill the online orders.

“If a student had taken the time to already order their books, we had a copy of the order so the student could see the books they needed to pull. If they hadn’t already ordered online, we had five stations set up where they could print their schedules to find their books.” Banks said.

Aside from losing their greeting cards and school supplies, no other merchandise was lost from the water damage, Banks said.

“The teamwork that so many people across campus demonstrated is truly incredible. Between the Bookstore staff, my staff at facilities, the Dayton Fire Department, Alpha and Omega, UDit, the RecPlex staff, the grounds crew, Mayberry’s, and many others on campus that all came together and rose to the occasion, all of this never would have happened so smoothly.” Keyes said.

In response to the latest cold snap, Housing and Residence Life sent an email on Tuesday, Jan. 21 advising students in apartments and houses to take precautions to avoid frozen pipes. According to the email, residents should set their thermostat to at least 68 degrees, leave cupboards open in kitchens and bathrooms to warm pipes, and leave faucets on a small drip. The email advised students to contact facilities if water flow in the house or apartment has slowed or stopped.

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