The waterworks

Campus experiences flooding after winter break cold snap

Over the winter break, several student living spaces flooded due to frozen sprinkler systems bursting. With the entire state experiencing an unprecedented Arctic blast, Arkansas State University maintenance crews were called in over the break to make repairs. 

“We had extremely low temperatures, not even just in general but all of the rest of the state and the mid-south and really the nation. With that when you have temperatures that feel like negative 27 degrees, it causes pipes to freeze. So the sprinkler systems are primarily what froze and then burst,” said Natalie Eskew, executive director of housing. 

Affected students received emails notifying them of the initial impact, as well as proper move-in instructions for students who had to move. No students had to be moved off campus.

Eskew encouraged students to check their emails for updates regarding freezing weather. Housing sends out emails instructing students to open their cabinets and drip water if necessary. 

“Trust that facilities management is doing what they can. Nobody wants a flooded room. I don’t want our students to have a flooded room, but there’s only so much that we can do as we go along to make sure that everything is prepared,” Eskew said. 

Affected student living spaces included Kays Hall, the first floor of the ROTC/STEM building, Collegiate Park, Pack Place and the Village. More than thirty students had to be relocated. 

Along with facilities management, outside contractors were brought in to help with restoration. 

Mason Atkins, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Vilonia, Arkansas, was affected by the flooding. Previously living in Building 3 of Collegiate Park, he and his roommates had to move to Building 6. 

After being notified via email about the flooding, Atkins returned to campus a few days later. He said only a few things were damaged, including a lamp, some small mats and a trash can. Atkins added that buying new items cost around $40.

Atkins said he and his roommates aren’t “the biggest fans” of their new location. 

“It’s farther from campus, right next to a pretty active road. My room is the closest one to it and the parking situation is the worst I’ve seen across campus,” Atkins said. “What I mean by that is there are way too many residents for the small parking lot in front of our building. Back at Building 3, we all had ample parking. One upgrade that I like is that we now have built-in carpet in our rooms which is very nice.”

Nicholas Palacios, a junior electrical engineering major from Cabot, Arkansas, returned to his apartment in Collegiate Park Building 5 on Christmas to remove his important items. He said his mattress has a stain on it from cleaning crews placing his wet belongings on it. 

“There was water all over the ground and every time you took a step you could see the water rise around your shoe,” Palacios said. “It smelled like stagnant water beginning to mold. Water was dripping from the ceiling in the living room and the walls had condensation on them. In the hallway, the ceiling had caved in and there were pieces of ceiling on the floor.”

Palacios and his roommates now live in Building 1. He added that his new apartment is closer to the Student Union and his classes and that he views it as an improvement from his old apartment.

Facilities management did not respond for an interview.

Categories: News

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