Just two weeks after they moved in, 13 freshmen living in Heron Hall’s basement will be relocated for two weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Harvey flooded rooms and lobbies.
Friday morning, Heron’s lobby was filled with move-in bins stuffed with resident’s belongings. Mattress pads and sheets lay on every flat surface, and chairs in the basement were haphazardly stacked off the floor. Students struggled as they carried additional wet bins to the lobby.
Freshman Heron resident Shannon Harper’s room started flooding around 11 p.m. Thursday night.
“It wasn’t that much to begin with — I caught it really early so I started putting towels down, and from the time I went down the hall to tell my RA, it had spread to my roommate’s side of the room,” said Harper.
By 12:30 a.m., her room was filled with an inch of standing water.
“We were making jokes last night that it was move-in day part two because everything was just everywhere,” she said. “It sucks, and it sucks that it had to happen that way, but there’s really nothing we can do about it. The best thing to do is just to keep a good attitude about it and do what you’ve got to do.”
Freshman Katie Knipper was told Friday afternoon she will share her room with one of the 13 displaced students, who are being relocated to Hail, Wright and Kennedy halls.
“If I have the extra bed in my room anyway there’s no reason not to help someone out, especially considering the kind of trauma they are probably experiencing,” Knipper said. “It’s a freshman dorm so they’ve only been here two weeks.”
At least half a dozen Belmont buildings — all but one of which house students — received water damage. Those buildings included Heron, Patton, Potter, Wright and Dickens halls, as well as Hitch — which houses the 27 new practice rooms added this fall.
In Patton, water damaged parts of the HVAC system, causing air conditioning to temporarily go out, said Residence Life Director Anthony Donovan.
“Water is a fairly common thing in a community like this, so we’re doing our typical protocols for handling that. Issues with water are a fairly regular occurrence for us,” Donovan said.
The water damage was not confined to one part of campus, but spread out. In one building, water seeped through the window, in another it flooded under the door. In many dorm rooms, students walked through inches of water covering the floor.
Sophomore Molly Lutz was in a Hitch practice room late Thursday night when water made its way inside the building.
“It just kept filling up like a bathtub.”
Lutz said the water came through the bottom of the door, then oozed down the stairwell.
“It creeped through the other door and into the main hallway and the practice rooms. It went really fast too.”
Vivienne Emde watched water drip through her window in the Max Kade room underneath Dickens Hall.
Emde called the Campus Security non-emergency line to alert them of the situation, she said. Security told her someone from facilities would help by noon Friday. As of 2 p.m., no one had come, she said.
For others, cleanup of Heron’s basement began late Thursday night, said Facilities Management Services employee Jennifer Shirley.
However, cleanup does not include replacement of damaged items, said Donovan, referring to university policy.
As of Friday afternoon, flooding had ceased in campus buildings. However, there is a flood advisory in effect for Davidson County until 7 p.m. and rain in the forecast until early Saturday morning.
Written by Melissa Kriz and Zach Gilchriest. Contributing reporting by Vision staff. Photo from Shannon Harper.