Alpha Phi residents relocate to the Lodge
The 23 residents of the Alpha Phi sorority house were forced to temporarily relocate on Friday due to water damage caused by a blockage in the house’s pipes, according to residential operations director David Eckels. While students are expected to be able to return to the house by Tuesday night, the Office of Residential Life will reevaluate the situation and timeline on Monday, Eckels said in an email.

Alpha Phi president Melinda Agron ’14 said the College arranged for some students to move to vacant rooms in residence halls while others found temporary housing with friends. The living room and the basement, however, remain unaffected, and all of the sorority’s activities for the week will run as scheduled, Agron said. An event for the Super Bowl and a meeting went on as planned on Sunday. “I wouldn’t say it was convenient, but it was more convenient for it to happen on the weekend than during the week because it didn’t interrupt people’s work or midterms,” Agron said. On Friday, the custodian for Alpha Phi found water dripping into the first-floor kitchen and discovered the source to be an overflowing third-floor toilet. A blockage was located and cleared in the three-inch-diameter pipe that carries wastewater from toilets and floor drains, Eckels said. The clog caused water to back up in a third-floor bathroom and leak through the walls and the floor, reaching the ground level. The greatest problem is the threat that the water damage poses to the integrity of the house’s second-floor walls, Agron said. “We have not been able to determine what caused the clog, but this kind of clog in a main drain line is pretty unusual,” Eckels said. “The lines are meant to easily handle water, toilet paper and other waste that you would normally think should go down a toilet.” Eckels said the blockage could have been caused by larger items being flushed down the toilet. Seven rooms require repairs, including removing some carpeting and sheetrock. The first-floor kitchen ceiling and a portion of the second-floor ceiling hallway have been removed, Eckels said. Carpeting with water damage in the second- and third-floor hallway areas and affected sheetrock walls were also removed. The College brought in a specialty cleaning company, Envirotech Clean Air, which is currently sanitizing affected surfaces in the house. “The women of Alpha Phi have been very understanding and cooperative and appreciate the work that is going into repairing the damage to the house,” Eckels said. Carly Rauh ’14 said the office of residential life has eased the transition by providing transportation and housing in the Lodge residence hall. “Obviously it’s not ideal,” Rauh said, “but ORL has done everything they can to make this the easiest experience it can be, so we can get home as fast as possible.”
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