While many students across Georgia were desperately checking the news for school closures on Jan. 6, students who lived in three Greek Village houses at the University of West Georgia were dealing with much worse issues.
Some time between Jan. 6 and Jan. 7, pipes burst inside the houses of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Kappa Alpha fraternity and the sorority overflow house, all residing inside of Greek Village. With the weather dropping below 10 degrees, many houses throughout Carrollton and all of Georgia had to worry about keeping their pipes warm enough so they would not burst.
Brian Rodgers, Tau Kappa Epsilon’s president, was surprised to see winter weather in Georgia.
“Having grown up in the north, I’m no stranger to this happening,” said Rodgers. “But the temperature dropping to record lows in Carrollton caught me off-guard.”
The pipes burst because the water inside already froze and then added pressure from blocked water caused them to rupture.
“If you have ever left a can of soda to chill in a freezer and eventually returned to find it exploded, the two happen for the same reason,” said Rodgers. “Too much pressure in a container will cause it to rupture and leak.”
And leak the pipes did. The pipes that broke in Rodgers’ room were in his bathroom, but caused water damage to the floor between the bathroom, the two adjacent bedrooms, the hallway leading to the rooms and a portion of a nearby bedroom.
Tim Reilly, assistant director of administrative operations for Housing and Residence Life, said that the pipes are insulated but there was such a quick drop in temperature that there was nothing they could do to keep the pipes from bursting.
Housing and Residence Life did offer accommodations for any resident who was affected by the leaks.
“All students that were living in any house that had a pipe burst were offered to relocate to Tyus Hall because we have some vacancies in there,” said Reilly. “A lot of the homes themselves were functional, they couldn’t use the shower or the bathroom.”
As aggravating as the situation was, Rodgers applauds the Maintenance and Housing and Residence Life departments for their quick and helpful response.
“While the situation itself was rather unfortunate, I felt it was handled promptly, efficiently and professionally,” said Rodgers.
While this issue may seem like it only deals with on-campus living arrangements, many students who live off-campus had issues with their pipes bursting as well.
Reilly said Housing and Residence Life would not hesitate to help any student in need. “If you live on campus, we can find a new spot right away. If any students off-campus had problems, we would’ve accommodated them,” said Reilly. “West Georgia is a family.”