Damage forces student exodus

Students living in the honors housing at 4008 Wayne St. are relocating due to extensive structural damage from melting snow.

The roof began leaking two weeks ago and the damage has begun creeping into the rooms on the outer edge of the structure.

Students began voluntarily moving out of the building one week ago and are free to find housing either on campus or off-campus.
4008 Wayne has been experiencing problems with melting snow for several years, but this is the first occasion where the damage has become so extensive to encourage students to move out.

“It looks like there is a problem with that building’s roof,” said Jacob Middlestetter, a senior Intelligence Studies and Russian major.

“Something is not structurally sound. People on the top floor are experiencing some leaks. Ice has gotten in. And when it melts, it starts leaking everywhere.”

Representatives from ResLife were unable to be reached for comment by the time of publishing.

The damage varies from room to room, and though maintenance has attempted to apply some temporary remedies to the problem, they have not been effective. “Some temporary patches have been applied to [other people’s] roofs in the same spots where I was having problems,” Middlestetter said.
“Those patches did not last and someone had water fall directly on their face while they were sleeping.”

The issue of melting ice has been causing problems with the honors housing for several years.

A former resident, Stefani Baughman, a senior Intelligence Studies and Political Science major, said she also had problems with ice and water damage last year when she lived there.

“The ceiling buckled with water damage in the corner,” said Baughman. “They came and put a tarp down and took the outlet out of the wall. There was really nothing they could fix.”

Even though the damage subsided, the incident was an influence for Baughman and her roommates to move off campus, combined with the price of housing on Wayne.

“The price was a big factor for us making the decision to move off-campus, but that definitely had an impact too. We’re paying so much, and this happened.”

The response from Residence Life has improved since last year. While there were some minor attempts to mitigate the effects of the damage in 2014, Residence Life has taken a different stance this year.

“They’ve been seemingly very willing to accommodate people for any issues that have come up,” Middlestetter said.

“I guess they’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a problem in that building, that they can’t just force people to deal with it anymore.”

The chief complaint about this situation has been that there have been opportunities for Mercyhurst University to address the damage, they have not done so.

“Especially during the summer, when no one is there and the weather is much better, they have opportunities to do some serious renovations to prevent this, but it seems they’ve never taken those steps,” said Middlestetter.