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South Campus May Face Hot Water Outage in October

By Sarah Lehr

Steam will be in short supply on south campus from Oct. 5 through Oct. 9. The life cycle of the piping system for south campus is nearing its completion, so steam must be shut down while necessary repairs take place. The shutdown will reduce hot water and building heat in the residences of Hanna, Manning, Leonard, Bushnell and Old Kenyon.

During the shutdown, backup water-heating systems will be provided, but the heating capacity will be lower than usual. Because of this, Maintenance recommends that students living on south campus limit their use of hot water and shower in other buildings, such as the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC), if possible. Furthermore, building heat (and hot water, in a few cases) will be affected in several academic buildings: Higley, Bolton Theater, Sam Mather, Tomsich Hall, Hayes Hall and Storer Hall. In the KAC, the pool, pool locker room, spa heat will be affected. Hot water, building heat and dish-washing systems will be affected in Peirce. There will be a back-up generator outside Peirce so that meals can be served as usual. “This is part of a three-phase project,” said Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Gregory Widener. “This is the first of at least two more digs on campus for the unearthing of additional piping over the course of the next three to four years.”

A memo emailed to students on Sept. 6 said, “The pipe replacement work will take place around the clock so as to complete it as quickly as possible.” Additionally, two days of the shutdown coincide with Fall Break, in the hopes of minimizing disruption. The memo also explains that the shutdown could not occur over the summer because “much custom-built piping was needed for this project. It was not readily available and the lead time for its production was lengthy.”

Residential Life has tried to ensure that students’ lives are disrupted as little as possible.

“Our role is to be the advocate for the students. [Maintenance has] asked us some questions, and we were able to provide some feedback,” Director of Housing and Residential Life Matt Troutman said. “Obviously, we’ll help students if any issues arise.” He added, “Especially, since this is a bigger-scoped project, [Maintenance has] done a very good job with communicating with us.”

Widener emphasized that students who “feel that something is abnormal” during the construction should notify Safety, Maintenance or Res Life. Widener also said he is especially focused on promoting safety with the contractor. “There are open ditches. … You’ve all probably seen all the orange fencing around,” he said. “We just want students to be respectful of that work zone. It is dangerous work. We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

“I guess it is a little annoying, but I plan to spend a lot of my time using the shower of a friend in Mather,” said Allison Lembo ’14, who lives on south campus.

Bushnell resident Sydnee Lindbloom ’14 said, “I don’t think it will affect us too much. I’ll just shower down at the KAC. The water [in Bushnell] gets too hot when I’m washing my hands anyway.”

Students living on south campus are advised to keep windows closed to lock in heat and to keep an extra blanket handy. There will be construction noise 24 hours a day. “One thing that CAs [Community Advisers] said was that they didn’t think [noise] would be that much of an issue,” Troutman said. “People are used to a lot of parties going on in Old Kenyon and those people that need earplugs probably already have them.” Nonetheless, Troutman suggested light sleepers should consider staying over with a friend who lives north. “With a project this big in size, there is a potential of not communicating and not covering all the bases,” Troutman said. “But it sounds like maintenance has done a really good job with covering all the bases, talking to people and doing everything they could have.”

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