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What Exactly Is Happening in the South Campus Apartments?

If you’ve checked Yik Yak recently, you may have noticed some speculation about the “South Campus situation.” We’ve heard that there is flooding, the school may or may not have a plan, and some students are living in different areas now. What exactly is going on?

When did it happen?

On February 14, around mid-afternoon, the fire alarm went off in the apartments. Most of the residents assumed that this was another commonplace occurrence of someone burning popcorn or blowing out a (illegal) candle in their room. So, everyone grumpily walked outside and waited for Public Safety to show up. It was taking longer than usual, so some curious person looked in to see what was going on. And lo and behold, a stream of water was running down the staircase. One resident described it as looking like “it was pouring down rain.” Everyone rushed up to their rooms to see if they had incurred any damage. 

Who was affected?

Not all of the apartments faced damages. It was primarily the left side, on the third and fourth floors; a total of 10 apartments were affected. The extent of the damage varied – some people lost TVs, computers, and clothing, but others didn’t have it quite as bad.

What is the administration doing to fix this?

Dean Badal sent out two emails recently – one on the day it happened, and one on the Monday following the incident. The follow-up email included this information:

It appears that the extreme cold caused a two-inch water pipe in the attic of Building One to break, resulting in flooding. Water damaged approximately 10 apartments and the first-floor lounge. Regular hot and cold water delivery to the complex was not affected. In addition, all life-safety systems (i.e., smoke, fire and heat detectors) are fully operational. Our facilities crews are working with an outside vendor with expertise in water remediation to access the damage, including measuring moisture levels throughout the building, and will recommend next steps based on that evaluation. Please be aware that crews will continue to go through the building over the next several days — including individual apartments — to check for damages and measure moisture levels. They will knock before entering, but may access your apartment when you’re not present. That work will occur throughout the next few days beginning after 8 a.m. each day.

Bucknell will assume full responsibility for needed repairs as a result of the flooding.”

Additionally, Bucknell is adding dining dollars to affected students’ accounts, and providing them with laundry and shuttle services. Some students even qualified for temporary housing. The school will also pay for replacement of expensive items, particularly laptops and cell phones that were damaged. 

When will it be fixed?

The exact timeline is somewhat uncertain. Currently the building looks like it is under construction, with crews coming in and out all day, and big fans blocking off parts of the hallways. The school is making a big effort, but it is still an inconvenience – somewhat of an “obstacle course” to those who live there, as one resident notes.

What does this mean for the future?

Truthfully, no one really knows. The on-campus versus off-campus housing struggle has been a problem for Bucknell students in the past few years. Many seniors wanted to live downtown this year, but with the new limitations the school has placed on housing, it was not possible for all of them to do so. Apparently, this was not the first problem that the apartments have had regarding water and pipes. The administration (and students as well) hope that nothing like this will happen again, of course, but such a big issue as this one is not easily forgotten and forgiven. There is chatter over whether the apartments were built in too much of a rush, and whether or not that will eventually mean more students living downtown. Only time will tell. 

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