Students in Moffat residence hall at Western Colorado University awoke to a not-so-festive surprise Halloween day, last Thursday morning.
An accumulation of ice caused a fire suppression main line to break in two locations in the ceiling above the third-floor hallway. Gunnison’s official weather station did report an overnight low that evening of -11.
Approximately 22,000 gallons of water was released damaging the floors, walls and ceilings, which collapsed in numerous locations. Students’ belongings were damaged. All three floors were affected by the water damage.
About 100 Moffat Hall residents were given time to collect their belongings and were relocated to vacant rooms in other campus residence halls. Moffat was closed to entry for the remainder of the weekend.
By Friday, Nov. 1, the damaged line had been repaired and was fully operational in all areas except the third floor. This section of line was pressure tested under the supervision of security personnel.
Western Custodial Services were redirected from their normal duties to assist with the cleanup and expedite the repair process.
A second damage assessment was performed Monday, Nov. 4. Moffat residents will now be relocated to other residence halls while repairs are being made.
Residence Life is accepting donations of clean cardboard boxes to help residents through the process of moving. Boxes can be dropped off on the Mears south patio.
Western faculty and staff assisted residents with relocation on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
All evacuated Moffat Hall residents have now been relocated to new residence halls with available beds. The established “two-year live-on” campus requirement for these enrolled students is still active.
Western is not liable for damage to any student’s personal items, according to a spokesperson for Residence Life who did not want to be named. That’s a stipulation of a housing contract. However, some students are utilizing their parents’ home and auto insurance policies to attempt to claim assistance for their damaged property.
The Western Colorado University Foundation has established a fund to help students whose belongings were damaged. Donations can be made at westernup.org. Be sure to note in the “Additional Comments” box that you’d like your donation to be used for the Helping Hands fund.
To contact Residence Life at Western regarding this issue, call Shelley Jansen at 970.943.2101.
Repair activities are expected to continue throughout the following weeks, and efforts will be made to minimize any disruptions related to these activities.