Arms filled with boxes of holiday goods, journalism student Chengcheng Shen shuffled her way in the front doors of Alex Hall on the evening of Jan. 5 to find her name, among of long list of others, scrawled across a white sheet near the front desk.
Referred to her don, Shen was told her room had been flooded and that she should promptly gather her possessions and plod down to the Lord Nelson Hotel, her home for the foreseeable future.
Facilities director Alex Doyle said the flood was caused by a burst pipe within the sprinkler system of the fourth floor of the west wing of the building. Water accumulated and seeped through the floors, causing major damage below.
“On the fourth floor we’ve started the restorative stage, replacing the drywall, the flooring, that’s going on as we speak,” said Doyle.
However, the third floor bore the brunt of the damage, requiring over a week of work just to removed damaged items.
“In some areas the water reached six inches, in others a foot and half.”
In an email addressed to all displaced students Jan. 13, dean of residence Nicholas Hatt assured students that King’s is trying to remediate the issue as quickly as possible. However, due to the extent of the damages, particularly on the third floor, some students will not be able to move back until mid-February.
Wanting to make the best of the situation, Shen cannot help but be a little frustrated.
“It’s really not a pleasant thing to come back to on the first day of the semester, they shouldn’t let this happen, it’s not their first winter here.”
FYP student Maxime Gordon, who lived on the third floor, is disappointed the repairs are going to take so long and feels a little disconnected because of the 20-minute walk from the hotel to campus.
“It could prove to be isolating from the community, that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”
Making the trek back and forth to campus for regular classes, meetings, and both lunch and dinner at Prince Hall has Shen and Gordon wondering when things will get back to normal.
“I just really want to get back to residence as soon as possible” said Shen.
The day after Alex Hall flooded, a pipe burst in the Chapel’s vestry, which soaked hand woven linens and antique books. The chapel currently holds its services in the Senior Common Room and the Chaplain’s office.
Doyle said he wants to get students back to their rooms, but wants to ensure each floor is 100 per cent dry, so there will be no chance of mold or reduced air quality in the future.
Built in 1962, some areas of the building contain small amounts of asbestos, which requires special care be given not only in the removal stage but also during repairs.
Doyle couldn’t give a figure for the cost of the overall repairs. The total won’t be known until the last student has moved back to her former room.
Complete repairs to Alex Hall and to the Chapel are expected to be finished by mid February.
Read our original breaking story here.