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Students Evacuated from Mertz Hall Following Water Damage

Photo Courtesy of AmeriqueFive of the affected students relocated to San Francisco Hall.

Five Loyola students moved from Mertz Residence Hall this week due to broken pipes which caused water to saturate the carpets of multiple dorm rooms in the 19-story building, according to an email to The Phoenix from university officials.

The severity of the damage wasn’t immediately clear.

The students were sent to live in vacant rooms at San Francisco Hall for the next five to seven days, according to Deborah Schmidt-Rogers, director of Residence Life and Kana Henning, director of Facilities.

The first reported water leak was on Tuesday, officials said. It was unclear which floor/floors it occurred on. There was a damaged pipe — which has since been replaced — and a contractor came to help dry out the rooms, the email said.

The water is clean but has an odor to it because it is a “closed loop” water pipe system, officials said.

A closed-loop system returns the water back to its original cooling or heating source, according to eZtips technical resources.

There were reports Thursday of another leak on the 15th floor due to the same issue, and maintenance employees gave the section of pipe to a consultant working with Loyola to determine if the pipe corrosion is because of water source problems, the email said.

The majority of rooms affected were on the 13th floor of the building, according to officials. The room with the most damage is having its carpet replaced, officials said.

Arielle Filskov, a first-year business management major, lives on the seventh floor and was affected. She said the carpet under her roommate’s bed got wet, as well as her roommate’s comforter and duffle bag.

Filskov, 18, said they were given a choice by the university to stay in their room or move to San Francisco Hall during the repair process, but she said they decided to stay because they already had plans to leave campus for the weekend.

However, she said she couldn’t spend much time in her room during the week, due to the bad smell and lack of power.

“It does smell like mold and for most of the week we didn’t have any power so I couldn’t go in there to charge my laptop or my phone,” Filskov said.

There was no air conditioning due to a lack of power, so the room was also very muggy, Filskov said. Throughout the week, she said she stayed in other friend’s dorm rooms.

“It was just kind of hard to go and find places to sleep,” Filskov said.

A first-year student who lives on the 13th floor said she got a call from her roommate Tuesday morning to let her know the dorm room had about an inch of water on the floor.

She said her roommate called Campus Safety, which sent maintenance employees to help clean the room. She said the water has been drained, and the carpet and trim on the walls of the room have been ripped out. She said her and her roommate had to relocate to a temporary room in San Francisco while maintenance crews work to repair the room over the weekend.

She said a rug in their room was damaged, as well as a North Face coat, purse and gym bag.

The student wanted to remain anonymous due to dissatisfaction with how the university is handling reimbursement for damaged items.

Officials said students affected have been instructed to send lists of damaged items to Residence Life, but they did not answer questions from The Phoenix on whether or not students will be reimbursed for the items.

She said Loyola is not reimbursing her because she didn’t purchase renter’s insurance at the beginning of the school year, as suggested by the university.

The University and Residence Life do not accept responsibility for theft, damage or loss of valuables, personal items and money on University or residence hall property, according to its website.

“We don’t like that view on it,” she said. “I shouldn’t need insurance for something of mine [that was damaged]. We didn’t burst the pipe ourselves.”

Repairs are supposed to continue throughout the weekend and early next week, both students said.

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Assistant News Editor

Mary Chappell is an assistant news editor at The Phoenix and studies journalism at Loyola. Mary grew up in Denver, Colorado, and loves to make music, drink coffee, attend concerts and watch baseball.

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