More than 200 students at Gallaudet University, Washington’s flagship university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, were displaced from Benson Hall when a pipe burst, sending water cascading through the residential building.
The pipe burst Sunday on the building’s fifth floor. Water seeped down through the structure, flooding many rooms. It’s essentially the same concept employed to douse the fire in the film “Towering Inferno,” but without the fire.
Students were relocated to the university’s posh convention center hotel, four to a room and two to a bed. Women got priority for hotel rooms. Some men were sent to sleep in “lobbies of other buildings,” according to a report sent by a campus source. University spokeswoman Catherine Murphy confirmed that school officials had to make creative use of available space.
Most student rooms had no visible flood damage, and those students are now back in the hall, Murphy said. Damage assessment continues, and some remain displaced.
“We immediately brought in outside experts to come in and do a building inspection,” she said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of carpeting and furniture that we will end up removing.”
Murphy said students were alerted to the flood by the building’s fire alarm, a system that combines “very loud” bells and flashing lights.
Let me close with a quick pitch for two new blogs written by my colleagues: Virginia Schools Insider and Maryland Schools Insider. They will cover K-12 education in their respective states. Give them a read!