Contact: Hui-Ling Chan, Assistant Director of Residence Life (360) 650-2960
BELLINGHAM - Western Washington University officials are coordinating cleanup and repair efforts after 16 rooms in the Gamma Hall residence hall were damaged by water from a broken pipe discovered Dec. 23.
Rooms that house 32 students were damaged when a frozen radiator pipe burst on the fourth floor, leaking water into rooms on the four floors below, damaging walls, floors, furnishings and some students' belongings. The rooms were empty at the time; students are on winter break.
University Residences staff have found alternative on-campus housing for the students until the repairs are complete. Repairs are expected to take until at least the end of January, and preliminary estimates say it will cost about $650,000 to repair the building.
A contractor will remove all items in the rooms, including students' belongings, and keep them secure at an off-campus warehouse. There, they'll be inspected for water damage. Electronics such as computers and televisions will be inspected to ensure they're safe to use, said Willy Hart, director of University Residences. And items like clothing and bedding will be tested to make sure asbestos that is present in the building did not get on the items. University Residences will also take belongings to a cleaner if students request it. Items will be returned as soon as they're determined to be safe, Hart said.
University Residences staff members Wednesday called the students whose rooms were damaged. Those students will move into other on-campus housing when residence halls re-open Jan. 4.