Carpenter Tower residents left high and dry

A water pipe under the sidewalk on the east side of Carpenter Tower ruptured  at approximately 11 p.m. last Wednesday, leaving 307 residents without running water for almost 24 hours. After the original pipe burst, a temporary pipe installed by city workers froze Thursday morning, though water was restored to students by around 3 p.m. that same day.

Rick Arcuri, associate dean for Administrative Services in the Office of Residence Life, said the pipe was fully repaired as of Monday.

“The workers had to install temporary concrete to the front of the building because permanent concrete is impossible to install in the winter,” he said. “The main doors of the building were open to students at around 7:30 a.m. Monday morning.”

Without water, the students and hall staff had to trek out into the subfreezing temperatures to use the bathroom, do laundry, wash their hands, brush their teeth and just about anything else that involved using water.

Jordan Fye, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said he and other students had to use the south side garbage entrance to access the building until Monday, when construction was finished.

“We couldn’t use the front door because the pipe broke right in front,” he said. “The construction workers had to put down new cement and let it dry before we could use it.”

An email sent to residents by the Office of Residence Life Thursday at 9:22 a.m. said water will be out for an “indeterminate amount of time” while the workers installed another temporary line. Another email by the Office of Residence Life was sent later that day at 3:20 p.m. saying the water had been restored.

“A second crew will begin working within the hour to dig up and replace the cracked water line,” the first email said. “They are currently working with the city to identify other utility lines that may be under the sidewalk and will begin their work as soon as they have approval form the Digger’s Hotline staff.”

Ryan Willging, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences and Carpenter resident, said the whole experience was unpleasant.

“I had to go without taking a shower that day,” he said. “I had to rock the smelly bad-hair day because I had no other choice.”

A junior in the College of Arts & Sciences who asked not to be named and is a resident of Carpenter said she had to use Cobeen Hall’s bathroom.

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/
Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ [email protected]

“Thankfully, I had other friends from other dorms, so I could use their bathroom or shower,” she said.

Willging said if the water hadn’t been restored to Carpenter by the time he got back from class, he and his friends were planning on using the Rec Plex showers.

“We had no idea when the water was going to come back on,” he said.

Fye said when he and his roommate woke up that morning, they originally thought it was only their room which did not have water.

“I tried to turn on the faucet that morning, and nothing came out,” he said. “I called downstairs and they told me the entire building was having the same problem.”

The unnamed student in the College of Arts and Sciences said she had the same problem.

“My roommate woke up earlier than me and was trying to flush the toilet,” she said. “She later woke me up and told me there was something wrong with the water.”