Article Submitted Thursday September 19th, 2013
On Monday, September 9, at 11:12 p.m., a student accidentally set off the sprinkler system in Welsh Hall, more commonly known as the T. The fire alarm went off, which immediately notified Public Safety. Community Living and Facilities Management Services (FMS) were notified by Public Safety soon after. The fire department and alarm companies were also notified, and the water system was shut off in the building by 1 a.m.
The next morning, after an extensive damage assessment by outside contractors, Community Living was informed that students in the damaged areas would not be able to live in the T during the repair. Goucher contacted the Sheraton nearby and arranged for T residents to live there, according to Candace Doane, Director of Community Living. The Sheraton was a natural choice because the school has a good relationship with the hotel, and has used it for temporary student housing in the past. The repair crews are working very hard and Community Living expects to have the displaced residents moved back by this Friday, September 20.
One resident, Liam Gandelsman ’16, said he was in the Athenaeum when the sprinklers went off, found out about it from friends, and slept there for the night. Unfortunately for Gandelsman, his textbooks, a few bags, and some shoes have water damage, and he is not sure if he is going to be reimbursed for the replacements. Rachael Hollern ’16, another T resident, was sleeping when the fire alarm went off, and went to Hillel to sleep for the rest of the night. Like everyone else who moved to the Sheraton, Gandelsman and Hollern had to pack up their entire room, plus anything they needed for up to ten days in less than half an hour before moving to the hotel. Hollern’s belongings all survived the incident, but she is frustrated that she cannot access her room, even though it has no damage.
“[On the bright side,] the [hotel] beds are insanely awesome…but it’s really inconvenient.” Gandelsman said. Similarly, Hollern says that“it feels kind of like vacation … but when I have to walk to class it’s awful.”
Not all Welsh residents were displaced to the Sheraton, the apartment wing was not damaged by the water. However, currently no guests are allowed into that wing either. According to Richard Puller of the Public Safety office, the decision was made by Public Safety for “safety reasons.”
“[It’s] kind of ridiculous,” said Giselle Rotenberg ’16, who is still living comfortably in her apartment. “Anyone with a one card should be let in.”
But with all of the changes in the past weeks, all Goucher community members have had to be flexible. Especially, when, on Tuesday, water was temporarily turned off in parts of campus for maintenance. The school should be back to normal after the Friday move-in date.