Students move back to Piedmont after residence hall flood

Residents in Piedmont Hall were able to move back into their spaces late last month after being temporarily relocated due to flooding.

At around 7 a.m. on Sep. 13, there was a hairline fracture in a pipe on the fifth floor of the Piedmont residence hall, causing flooding throughout the building. According to Jana Hurley, assistant vice president of university life, water ran in the building for about 10 to 15 minutes before the fire department was able to respond.

“There was significant water damage on the fifth floor and areas of fourth, third, second and first were also impacted as the water migrated downward,” Hurley said.

Residents of both Piedmont and Tidewater Hall were updated on the situation via email on the afternoon of the incident. According to the email from Housing and Residence Life, students in non-affected rooms were allowed to re-occupy their spaces around 11 a.m. Thirty-eight residents were temporarily relocated due to the damage. Most of them were placed in the Global Center, but three students were relocated to Hampton Roads

“There were students in a triple and we have an emergency room set up as a quad,” said Denise Taylor, executive director for Housing and Residence Life. “It was a little bit more comparable to what they had.”

According to Hurley, students were able to go into their room and retrieve belongings as needed. All of the students are now moved back in, with the residents of Piedmont 515 being the last, as that was where the fracture occurred.

Housing and Residence Life called in ServPro, a third party water remediation company, to help handle the repairs in conjunction with Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities.

Most of the repairs are completed, but Taylor says some of the molding on the drywall will not be completely installed until winter break. The drywall is finished, but Taylor says they do not want to disturb students by coming into their living areas to do the molding. Housing has reached out to students with unfinished molding to see if they would like it to be installed during this semester for aesthetic purposes.

“We had four rolls [of drywall molding] which was not sufficient to handle all of [the rooms] and so that was ordered,” Taylor said. “But it doesn’t keep, you know, the drywall was finished but we wanted the students to be able to move back in.”

Taylor says the final cost for the repairs will not be available until approximately November. However, the university is self-insured and housing is a self-funded auxiliary. Taylor also assured that Housing is financially prepared for this type of situation.

“We have a contingency budget for the, you never know what’s going to happen in a given year,” Taylor said. “Some years there isn’t anything that happens and it goes to, rolls to the bottom line and goes into the reserve account for maintenance types of situations that might come up in the future.”

The type of pipe involved in the fracture will not be used in future construction, according to Taylor. Hurley says that they are analyzing the pipe to determine whether there will need to be anything else to be done in terms of prevention.

“We are fortunate that most of our residence halls are quite new and were built to last, including Piedmont Hall,” Hurley said. “We’re very disappointed that this disruption occurred and would hope for it to be an anomaly.”

Photo Credits: Amy Rose