Flooding in Howe Hall temporarily displaces students

Residents of Howe Hall came back to campus after Christmas Break to a startling discovery – their rooms had flooded. Director of Physical Plant Matt Whitis said that the flooding was caused by a leak in a large tank that was used for storing hot water.

“We were notified in the early morning and had it cleaned up by that afternoon,” Whitis said. “All rooms had their carpets cleaned while we extracted the water [and we] had fans and dehumidifiers in until the building was completely dry.”

Sophomore Marriah Peebles, a resident of Howe Hall, came back to campus two weeks early in go to London with the marching band and was one of the first ones back in the building.

“When I walked in they had everything covered up and everything in rooms were lifted up on stilts,” Peebles said. She said that anything that could be put on top of something was put in the bathroom.

“Mine is the second room all the way almost to the end of the hall and it went past my room so the room next to mine even got soaked,” Peebles said. “I don’t really know how much water there was, but I’m assuming there was a lot considering how far it went.”

Having a flooded room also means having to throw damaged items away. Peebles said that she did not get any water damage on her own personal items, but she did have to throw away two pairs of her roommate’s boots because they had mold on them.

“I’ve heard that more [residents] had to throw away more items,” Peebles said. “Some [residents] had to throw away food and then some had to throw away clothing. I think one person said that they even had to throw away blankets and vacuums and stuff like that.”

Peebles’ roommate, sophomore Macy Myer said, “I don’t really want any of the stuff in there that’s cloth because the way that mold works is that once it’s already popped up, it spreads to other stuff really easily, so even if it didn’t have mold on it, it still has the spores and stuff in it. So I was just going to try to get rid of everything; everything smells.”

As most of the water was gone before classes resumed, there were not very many students who were relocated. Peebles and Myer said that they were relocated to the Oaks apartments so that the mold spores would not cause Peebles’ allergies to flare up. Another pair of roommates were also relocated to the Oaks, but Peebles said that they were planning on relocating anyway.

As for everyone else, Peebles said, “Everyone’s pretty much moved back in; complaining, but moving back in.”

Myer and Peebles are unsure of when and if they will move back in. Olivet is planning on offering reimbursements to Howe Hall residents for personal belongings that were damaged in the flooding.

–Kelli Poole

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