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Brown Hall Flooding

By Connor Schultz
On September 5, 2016

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

Roughly 150 students were uprooted from Brown Hall after flooding engulfed the oldest dormitory on Ottawa University’s campus during the first weekend of classes.

The flooding, which resulted from increased pressure on the pipes following a water main break in the city of Ottawa, started in the third floor of Brown Hall on Aug. 27.

Displaced students, which comprise roughly 15 percent of total enrolled students on Ottawa’s campus, are staying in three hotels on the south side of town: the Best Western, Super 8 Motel and Comfort Inn.

Tom Taldo, Dean of Student Affairs, says while there is not a strict deadline, the university is working with the restoration company to get the flooding taken care of as quickly as possible.

“We’ve got our insurance company providing support, and we’ve got people in there working almost 24/7 until they get it done and they get it cleaned up,” Taldo says. “Our goal is to get it done as fast as we can, but to get it done the right way so we can get our students back in there.”

Brown Hall residents living in the hotels are offered shuttles from their hotel to campus several times during the day.

Austin Levin, a first-year student from Killeen, Texas, spoke of the challenges the night his dorm was evacuated.

“It was a stressful evening. In the middle of the night, I was unloading water with President Eichner and a few other people. We were helping move water because of the boil advisory,” Levin says. “Then I got a call saying our dorm flooded, and I couldn’t believe it. Nobody knew what was going on. Everyone was calling everyone because we had to get all of the stuff off of the floor.”

While physical damage to students was minimal, several residents lost electronics, clothing and textbooks.

“We have asked all of our students to report every item that has been damaged, and to take pictures of those damaged items and to send those reports to us. We are going to talk and see what we can work out,” Taldo says.

Levin describes his first month at Ottawa University in one word: stressful.

“We and a couple of other people were joking around at five in the morning that Sunday like, ‘Man, we’re homeless,’” he recalls. “Because while we do have a place to stay right now at the hotel, we still don’t really have a place that is our own.”

“It’s difficult for everyone. The university is doing the best that we can do, and the students have just been fantastic,” Taldo says. “We have every reason to believe that Brown Hall will be fully functional once we get everything put back together.”

Students in need of further support can contact the student affairs office or check out The Campus’ articles on all the resources that can help them survive the coming weeks.

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