Four buildings on Shippensburg University’s campus were impacted by flooding in the past two weeks.
Naugle, Harley, McCune and Mowrey Halls were flooded because low temperatures caused pipes to burst inside the buildings. Water from the pipes caused damage to electrical, HVAC, smoke alarms, insulation and walls, according to Megan Silverstrim, communications and marketing media relations/social media manager at SU.
Staff shut off the source of the water when the leaks were detected, and then worked to evacuate students, assess damage, solve the issue and begin repairs.
Sixteen students from Naugle, Harley and McCune Halls were moved to temporary housing, Silverstrim said.
Becca Entner was in her room in Naugle Hall on Jan. 24 when the fire alarm went off at 12:30 a.m. Upon reentering the building, Entner noticed a trashcan in the hallway catching leaking water from the ceiling. A second fire alarm sounded around 5:40 a.m. the same day. When Entner walked past the trashcan in the hallway, water was gushing from the ceiling.
Residents stood outside for about 10-15 minutes, but they were relocated to Seavers Hall. Everybody who lived on the side of Naugle Hall whose rooms were not affected by the flooding were allowed to reenter the building, Entner said.
“We had left at like 7 [a.m.] once Reisner opened and just sat there for a while. As we walked past we could see the bottom floor was all flooded, and there was about two inches of water on the first floor,” she said.
Entner and her roommate were told they could go upstairs to gather what belongings they needed around 7:30 a.m., but they had to exit immediately after. Her bathroom was flooded, but the rest of her room was mostly damp.
Originally, Entner was told she would have to move to McLean Hall. Later in the day, however, her resident assistant told her that she had to move to Harley Hall permanently because the walls in her room had to be torn out. On Feb. 2 around 3:30 p.m., the fire alarm in Harley Hall went off, according to Entner.
“The second alarm went off and we heard it was another flood. We were freaking out because we had heard it was over near our room,” she said.
Entner’s room was not affected by the second flood, but some students were evacuated.
Ni’Yailah Chance also lived in Naugle Hall and was affected by the flooding. However, she was moved to McLean Hall for about a week before being moved to Lackhove Hall.
“It was an unexpected start to the semester. That time period did stress me out, but now that I’m settled in a more comfortable place, I just got back on track with everything and hope to continue the semester without any more dramatic changes,” Chance said.
She thought the university did well getting students out quickly, ensuring their safety and answering questions.
“I hope students who filed claims don’t have to wait long to be compensated for the damages done and that everyone is living comfortably and safe now,” Chance said.
Entner and her roommate had to fill out claim forms for damage due to the flooding in Naugle Hall.
The 2018-19 SU housing agreement Part VI states, “The university does not assume any legal obligations to pay for the loss of or damage to items of personal property of the student which occurs in its buildings, storage rooms or on its grounds, prior to, during or subsequent to the period of the contract. The student or parents are encouraged to carry appropriate insurance to cover such losses.”
When asked about students being compensated for losses or reimbursed for housing, Silverstrim said, “Housing is working with each individual student so there is not one specific answer in terms of loss and compensation.”
On Feb. 2 around 6:30 p.m., the Office of Housing and Residence Life sent an email to residents in Lackhove Hall warning about the potential of a water leak.
“As a result of the recent freezing temperatures within the past few days, and the outside temperature warming up, pipe leaks are a current risk in Lackhove Hall. Please do not hesitate to notify a residence life staff member if you observe any water leaks in your residence hall,” the email said.
Silverstrim said facilities are still working on measures that can be taken to prevent more pipes from bursting, and a completion date is not set.
“We thank students for their patience in this process and those who have worked diligently in response to this issue.”