Saturday night of Halloween weekend came with a different kind of scare for Duval residents.
“I got a call from my roommate around seven at night and she said that our apartment was flooded,” said a Duval resident.
Police and Safety, Mercyhurst maintenance staff and the housing administration responded very quickly to the situation.
“A student made a bad call not intentionally that caused a sprinkler to break. When in hotels they say to not touch the sprinkler system, heed that warning,” Megan McKenna, director of Residence Life and Student Conduct, said.
Three apartments were significantly damaged and two others had partial damage. This forced Mercyhurst to relocate 20 students to temporary housing.
“There’s a lot of construction going on. Most of our concern is the water. Everything needs to be sanitized to prevent mold growth. We’ll need to replace all the carpeting for sure,” McKenna said.
Not everything will have to be replaced. Some things can be salvaged.
“The furniture needs to be cleaned and sanitized but the good thing about university furniture is it’s built for things like this. We’ll replace mattresses and everything will be assessed as to whether we can keep it or not,” McKenna said.
The restoration is expected to be complete after Thanksgiving break.
“The last few days have been demolition. Now we’re at the step where we have to sit and wait. The next step will be rebuilding,” McKenna said.
Fortunately, Mercyhurst has housing set aside particularly for situations such as this.
“Our housing is older and that comes with challenges. It’s interesting some of the things you have to think about that you didn’t have to before,” McKenna said.
In situations such as this, communication is most important.
“I’ve been communicating regularly with the affected students and all the students still in Duval. There’s a lot of construction going on over there and we don’t want that to be a problem for them,” McKenna said.
Situations such as this test Mercyhurst’s systems, especially residence life and the maintenance staff. It also speaks volumes of the types of students that are a part of the Mercyhurst community.
“Jonah Jackson, the Duval RA, was very helpful during the incident. All the students were great. Everybody was very understanding and cooperative. I’m very thankful for the students’ response. In the grand scheme of things I greatly appreciate that,” McKenna said.
Currently, there is no available monetary assessment of the damage. Insurance will cover the damage to the apartments.