Sunday, May 22, 2022
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Oak Street Hall residents forced to move out following flood

Students living in Oak Street Hall received a wet and noisy wakeup call last Saturday due to Halloween decorating gone wrong.

“Saturday around 2:30 a.m. in OSH, we had a student who essentially broke off a fire sprinkler head in their room,” said Sean Grube, Director of Residential Life. “As a precautionary measure, we evacuated the entire residency.”

Students who had purchased Halloween decorations earlier that evening caused the incident while looking for a place to hang them up. As soon as they hung a decoration on the sprinkler head, water started spewing.

Freshman Jordan Held heard the entire ordeal take place.

“I heard banging and screaming and immediately jumped up,” said Held. “I looked out into the hallway and saw the water. I knew something was wrong.”

The UMKC campus has “a flow alarm” within the sprinkler system. This means that as soon as water starts to move or the system is tampered with, the alarm activates.

As soon as the alarm sounded, residential life staff ushered students out of the building. They waited outside for hours before heading back in, where they spent the rest of the early morning cleaning up the mess.

After flooding in Oak Street Hall last weekend, some students relocated to different resident halls. (Source: University of Missouri-Kansas City)
After flooding in Oak Street Hall last weekend, some students relocated to different resident halls. (Source: University of
Missouri-Kansas City)

The incident directly impacted students on the fourth floor, as well as those in surrounding rooms, who relocated that morning.

“We have full occupancy this year, so we don’t have a lot of available rooms in one particular space,” said Grube. “We worked through the system to place them in any available space.”

Some residents moved across the street into the Oak Place apartments, while others could only find space in Hospital Hill apartments, thus becoming commuter students.

“Having to find parking now is very inconvenient, but I am still trying to stay light about the whole situation,” said Held.

According to freshman Anthony Cobaugh, he didn’t recognize the damage in his room at first. But once he and his roommates glimpsed obvious signs of water damage, such as bubbles in the paint, they started to panic.

“The water damage is still being assessed, and we won’t know exactly how much damage there is until we get an estimate,” said Grube, “But it will be significant.”

Grube wants to stress to students that the sprinklers, are not designed to bear weight.

Contractors began assessing the damage this week. Residential life will inform students of the construction plan soon, as well as release a time frame for when they can move back into Oak Street Hall.

“It is my hope and preference that we get students back in their spots before finals so they feel settled in prepared,” said Grube.

Despite efforts to get students back in their rooms and settled, some students are hesitant.

“I honestly don’t like the idea of moving back once everything is fixed,” said Cobaugh. “It’s laboring and annoying that we’re getting moved around like this.”

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