Dorm students talk about the recent loss of heat, water

Dorm students talk about the recent loss of heat, water

By Sam Bailey / Editor in Chief

The past few days have plagued much of the United States with extreme cold weather and snow storms.

On Monday, the temperature at Hutchinson Community College hit extreme lows with a “feels like” temperature of minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit at times.

With this extreme weather, dorm students rely heavily on the heat and water systems provided to them from the residence halls.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 8, Elland Hall could no longer access water in the entire building, due to a leak in the pipes outside.

“The water leak outside Elland Hall Monday morning was a cracked four Ductile iron pipe, supplying domestic water to Elland Hall,” said HutchCC Director of Facilities Don Rose. “We think that it was just the age of the pipe that caused the crack.”

Rose said the pipes were installed in the late 1960s.

“The City of Hutchinson employees responded since water main breaks are their domain, and the water was back available in Elland Hall by noon. Full hot water was available by 9 p.m. Monday night,” said Director of Residence Life & Student Activities Dana Hinshaw.

While repairing the leak, the workers also spotted damage on a nearby pipe and fixed the damage there as well.

While the concern for the damage appeared to be cold weather at first, students shouldn’t worry about the water shutting off again because of these pipes.

The wrap that was used to fix the pipes should last at least five years, Rose said.

Even though the water was soon turned back on, students still had to get ready for classes in the morning with no water and freezing temperatures outside.

“Me and my roommate, Miquela Guarjardo, woke up and didn’t have time to go somewhere else,” El Dorado freshman Cheyenne Collins said. “I used a water bottle and a bowl to brush my teeth and wash my face in my dorm room.”

If a student wanted to take a shower before the warm water started working again, they had to either take a cold shower in their hall or walk over to adjacent Kent Hall.

In the amount of time it took to walk the distance between the dorms that day, the weather would freeze wet hair, making this a concerning trip for many.

“I did end up showering with cold water. I had left the water on for 10 minutes and it wouldn’t get any warmer,” Collins said. “It was so cold I couldn’t stop shivering.”

The same day the water shut off in Elland Hall, the heat stopped working in Kent Hall.

“HutchCC Maintenance workers came as soon as it was reported and had heat back on in Kent Hall by around 10:30 that morning,” Hinshaw said.

While the heat was fixed the same day the concern was brought to the dorm office, students may have gone without heat even longer.

“I don’t remember the exact date of when the heater shut off, but I know that at least three days we didn’t have heat, and then it finally worked again,” said HutchCC sophomore Erik Bannister.

If students notice these problems, they can call the RA on duty or contact the adult on duty.

“Those numbers are posted on all outside doors and on the office door,” Hinshaw said. “Maintenance staff are monitoring the weather and our systems, that being said, our residents need to report when they are aware of a problem. The sooner we are aware of an issue, the quicker we can respond.”

Patience and understanding is asked of the dorm residents during this time.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience these situations might have caused our residents. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated and skilled maintenance staff to deal with problems that arise on campus. The cold snap we are experiencing is extreme and challenging for everyone. We appreciate the patience of our residents and hope these instances did not create too much hardship for them,” Hinshaw said.

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