Students left cold after water heater dies

Noelle Ott

Cold water has many good uses, except when it’s all that’s coming from a shower head.

That’s what happened to students living in the residence halls on Oct. 27.

The students in the on-campus apartments, except those in the Stone Hall, found themselves without hot water when the only domestic hot water supply boiler died.

Deb Gibson, director of housing, and a team from the physical plant went to work to try to mend get the problem.

The physical plant called around to find a new boiler, but they did not find one within the Four State area.

The closest compatible boiler was in El Paso, Texas and would take about three or four days to arrive.

This caused an immediate problem for Gibson, who still had residents stuck taking cold showers.

“It became our top priority,” said Tim Dodge, facilities planner for the physical plant.

Meanwhile, Gibson did what she could to temporarily find a solution for students who were without hot water.

She called in the resident directors, and they decided to inform the students of what was taking place.

They also decided to allow the men from the apartments to use Blaine Hall’s facilities and the women from the apartments to use those in McCormick Hall.

That plan was only temporary. The physical plant had to find a way to permanently fix the water heater problem.

They decided the best they could do for the time being was to use a boiler that was located on the top floor of Billingsly Student Center.

However, it was smaller than the previous one and they worried it might not be able to keep up.

“The physical plant guys worked their fingers to the bone to get it done,” Gibson said.

Their hard work paid off as the smaller boiler was able to handle the load.With the smaller boiler, the apartment residents were able to have hot water again by Oct. 29 – two days after the water went out.

The small boiler filled in for the limited time.

The quick remedy gave the physical plant time to order the new boiler. They are planning to use the smaller one as a backup.

The physical plant team as well as residents hall directors hope this will stop this problem from returning in the future.

Gibson was relatively pleased with the cooperation of everyone and with the solution that was found.

“Everyone was wonderful,” Gibson said.

“I can not say enough about how wonderful our students were. Not one came to my office to complain.”