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UPDATE: Parents, students share concerns about heating in residence halls

Residents+of+Pearce+Ford+Tower+have+experienced+maintenance+issues+this+semester.+%28Sept.%2C+2021%29
Paul Maxwell
Residents of Pearce Ford Tower have experienced maintenance issues this semester. (Sept., 2021)

Editor’s note: This story was updated with information from Housing and Residence Life on work orders received from different residence halls at 3:38 p.m. on Jan. 16.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:42 p.m. on Jan. 16.  A previous version of this story encouraged students to contact Ginny Hensley about maintenance concerns. Residential students can contact their hall director or front desk with any concerns. The Herald regrets this error.

Parents shared concerns Monday, Jan. 15 via the Western Kentucky Parent Group on Facebook about their residential students undergoing issues in their dorms due to the winter weather advisory.

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Some claimed their student had not received maintenance, days after filling out the maintenance request form.

“We are aware of several rooms on campus having heating concerns and we know there have been some challenges in reporting those concerns,” Ginny Hensley, Housing and Residence Life parent and family engagement coordinator wrote on Facebook. “Heat is an emergency, and while we always want students to utilize the maintenance request form, heat is something we ask students to go directly to their residence front hall desk to report.”

Residents of Meredith Hall confirmed loss of heat in the building was an “ongoing issue” Monday night. Similar claims have been stated by residents of Pearce Ford Tower, Zacharias Hall and Bates Runner Hall.

Katie Corbin, assistant director of marketing and communication for HRL, said in an email that over the weekend and through Tuesday, Jan. 16, HRL and facilities management received 36 work orders for individual HVAC units in residence halls.

These halls included Bates Runner, Hilltopper, Zacharias, Rodes Harlin, Gilbert, Munday, Southwest, Minton, Meredith, PFT and McLean. She stated there is no known system-wide heating outage, however, and that technicians are continuing to address issues “as they are assigned.”

Gigi Hale, sophomore hospitality management student, has not had any heat since returning to her dorm in Bates Runner Hall. Hale said when she arrived for move-in, her room was 55 degrees. Since then, it has only become colder. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, January 16, her room was 49 degrees.

“I’ve been wearing fuzzy socks and slippers so that I don’t have to feel how cold the floor is,” Hale said. “I constantly have a blanket or robe on me, and I’ll take a shower to warm up every now and then. I’m already starting to get sick because of it.”

Additionally, Hale said that the floor tiles in her bathroom are loosening due to water leaking underneath them.

“I assume it’s an issue with one of the pipes due to the cold. Anytime I step on the floor in that area, more water seeps out,” Hale said.

She said that she has gotten into contact with maintenance, but that they “haven’t been in any kind of rush” to fix the issues she is facing.

Residential students seeking emergency maintenance are encouraged to report their issues to the front desk of their residence hall.

Emergency maintenance includes “loss of heat, issues involving water/leaks, or anything that is immediately endangering someone’s physical safety or property” according to a statement issued by WKU Housing and Residence Life on Monday, Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m. through email.

HRL has asked residential students to keep their windows closed to prevent frozen pipes and to use caution when traveling across campus during the winter weather.

Assistant News Editor Ali Costellow can be reached at [email protected]

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