As students at the University of King’s College were returning to school after their winter break, they were met with a nasty surprise.
Pipes in the university’s largest residence, Alexandra Hall, had burst.
On Saturday, Jan. 4, a burst sprinkler drenched the west wing of the building, starting on the fourth floor and seeping down to the ground level.
Jennifer Lee lives in the room next to where the pipe first broke. She arrived at King’s anticipating a smooth return to residence after the holiday, but found her carpeted floor filled with water and all her possessions dampened by the broken pipe.
“We had to pack up all our things. Everything. Even down to posters and things in the drawers.”
By the end of Sunday, 45 students had left King’s and moved into the Lord Nelson Hotel.
“Our things were put into storage and by the end of the afternoon I was settled at the Lord Nelson,” says Lee.
Nick Hatt, King’s dean of residence, said he was very happy with the reaction of the staff and students to such a dramatic arrival back to campus.
“The students have been very positive and understanding and have been helping out one another quite a lot. The staff have pulled together very well and are working tirelessly, with good cheer.”
At this point, students still don’t know when they will be able to return to residence, but estimates range from two to three weeks from when they were initially displaced.
The west wing of Alex Hall is under renovation as a result. Large orange tarps block the area from student access and the sound of hammers and drills echoes down the long hallways.
The King’s chapel, which also flooded due to a broken pipe, is undergoing repairs as well. The water damaged many of the historic texts and artifacts stored in the chapel but efforts are being made to ensure they are properly restored.
Despite the nuisance of locking many of their possessions in storage, facing a sudden commute to school and not knowing when they will be able to return to their residence rooms, these uprooted King’s students have kept positive.
“Now I don’t have to shower with flip-flops on,” says Lee, “and there’s two-ply toilet paper so hey, that’s an added bonus.”
Editor’s note: Eleanor Davidson lives in the fourth-floor of Alexandra Hall. Her room was not damaged.