Pioneer residents face cold walk to hot showers

Brad Ellingson

Some students in Pioneer Hall could be seen traipsing through the halls, outside the building and in the lobby Wednesday, carrying shower caddies and wearing flip-flops.

Because of mechanical problems, students living on the north side of Pioneer Hall have been forced to take hot showers in bathrooms on the south side since Monday. Because the north and south sides are not connected within the building, Pioneer shower seekers have to go outside and walk through the lobby.

Signs posted outside Pioneer Hall on Wednesday told students the hot water on the north side had been shut off and officials were unsure when the problem would be fixed.

“They’re having some pipe issues Ö with hot water and there were steam leaks that they’re repairing and working on,” said Pioneer Hall director Chad Horsley.

“It’s tough working conditions because it’s in a crawl space underneath the lower lobby in Pioneer,” said Tim Busse, departmental director of University Services.

Horsley said students were notified shortly after problems were found.

Some students hoped Pioneer Hall officials would have given them more notice.

“It’d be nice if they told us earlier,” said Ben Butzow, a political science sophomore.

“They only put signs on the main doors,” Butzow said.

Walking outside coupled with the cold weather presented obstacles for students living on the North side.

“We had to go over there in towels,” said freshman Adam Miller.

After coming back in his towel to the north side, Miller said he didn’t have a key and was stuck outside his door in only his towel.

Some students had to change their daily routines.

Although waiting in lines was not a problem, waking up earlier was, Butzow said.

Others simply didn’t shower.

“It sucks,” said freshman Sam Kenan, a mechanical engineering major. “I haven’t taken a shower for two days.”

Still, some students had not heard about the loss of hot water on the north side.

Erin Sanford, a sophomore psychology major, said she hadn’t heard about the loss of hot water.

Nicole Schauer, a pre-pharmacy sophomore, also said she had not heard of the hot water problem, but she saw different people using the bathroom on the south side.

“I’ve noticed weird people in our bathroom,” Schauer said.

Carlye Borth, an elementary education freshman, said she heard fire alarms go off.

Busse said the fire alarms probably went off because of the humidity.

“We’re doing our best to keep them informed about the situation and keep them aware as things change,” Horsley said.

“There have been unforeseen difficulties that they weren’t expecting going in there,” he said.

Humidity, high heat, tight spaces and asbestos are concerns for workers, Busse said.

“Apparently Ö the sand that they’re working on in there had a low level of asbestos contamination,” Busse said. “It’s not easy what they’re doing now.”

Still, some students believe more should be done about the problem because of the money they pay for rooms in residence halls.

“It doesn’t seem like they are doing enough to fix the situation,” said Eric Chad, a freshman majoring in biochemistry.

“It pisses me off; you pay a lot of money to live here,” said freshman Andy Platto.