Status improves on residence hall damage
Mississippi State University officials assisted students returning to Ruby Hall on Jan. 9 after some rooms in the residence hall received water damage during the recent arctic blast that produced single-digit temperatures on the Starkville campus. Preparing to greet students at the university’s claims assistance desk in Ruby Hall were, left-to-right: MSU Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois, MSU Coordinator of Football Recruiting Rockey Felker, MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Kibler and MSU Director of Housing and Residence Life Ann Bailey. PHOTO: Megan Bean | Public Affairs
One day after frozen pipes caused by record cold temperatures last week produced substantial water damage to at least three Mississippi State residence halls, university officials said the damage was less extensive than originally feared.
"After a more extensive assessment of the damage, it appears that approximately 120 students will be impacted," said MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Kibler. "Now, our focus is on providing personal assistance to those students who need alternate housing options, securing their possessions from the damaged rooms and in helping them navigate this unexpected transition."
Kibler said the university began contacting individual students on Jan. 7 to advise them of the weather-related damage and to inform them of available options.
The most extensive damage was reported in Ruby Hall in Zacharias Village on the north side of the campus. Ruby Hall, opened in 2005, housed some 412 students. The damage came from a ruptured fire suppression system water pipe on the third floor of the building's "B" wing, which housed male students. About half of the Ruby "B" wing residents were student athletes.
Other residence halls impacted by water pipe ruptures in the fire suppression system included Oak Hall and Magnolia Hall, the two newest housing facilities on the MSU campus.
Kibler said one wing of Ruby Hall would likely be closed for the entire 2014 Spring semester, while needed repairs in Oak and Magnolia Hall" primarily wet carpet, minor sheetrock damage, and moisture removal" could potentially be completed "in a few days."
"As soon as the damage was discovered, we began an aggressive program of securing the facilities, launching an appropriate environmental mitigation response, and making sure that we go about this clean-up in a safe and effective manner," said Kibler.
MSU's Department of Housing and Residence Life will be assisting students impacted by the weather-related damage as they transition to other housing opportunities. Students who need additional information are urged to call 662-325-3555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said the university was continuing to monitor the potential impact of the single-digit temperatures on the more than 700 buildings included in MSU's statewide infrastructure, but that it appeared the three residence halls were the only buildings with damage from the frigid temperatures.
"The university is investigating the specific cause of the pipe damage and that assessment will be thorough and exhaustive, but it's clear at this point that the ultimate cause traces back to record single-digit cold temperatures," said Salter.