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Ohio State students return to Park-Stradley, sans drinking water, AC

The doors are open and the lights are on, but the Park-Stradley residents who spent the past three nights crashing on friends’ couches or sleeping in the RPAC still won’t have all of home’s amenities.
Ohio State students living in Park-Stradley Hall returned to their rooms Wednesday, but will not have access to hot water, drinking water, heating or air conditioning in their rooms.
The 1,200 students were able to return Wednesday afternoon after a water main break forced them to evacuate the building for three nights.
Building inspectors determined that Park-Stradley passed the necessary safety inspections Wednesday, but “there’s still a lot of work to be done” before it’s back to its original form, said Molly Ranz Calhoun, associate vice president of Student Life.
To compensate for the water issues, Calhoun said Wednesday afternoon the university has purchased about 3,300 bottles of water and 400 gallon jugs to be handed out to residents at the dorm’s front desk and will continue to restock as necessary.
The non-functional heating and cooling systems could take weeks to repair.
“Because of the temperature we’re not worried about it right now, but we’ve got to start to find out the solution to fix it, so that’s probably going to take us a few weeks to figure that out,” Calhoun said. “We’re kind of doing this in terms of what we need when.”
The university is attempting to compensate its students for the inconvenience. Every resident of Park-Stradley will have $90, or $30 per night, credited to their university account within the next 10 days.
“We will continue to assess the situation and determine if additional refunds will be provided,” said Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for Student Life.
Some students don’t feel the money is enough.
“The $90 helped … but it still doesn’t make up for having to sleep in the RPAC,” said Christi Kehres, a first-year in engineering.
The residents began returning about 5 p.m. carrying blankets, pillows and other personal belongings back to their rooms.
“My roommate and I were jumping up and down when we realized we could move back in,” said Kelly Cutter, a first-year in exploration. “We were just like rolling around, like no where to go between classes and stuff, so it’s a relief.”
Not everyone was so happy.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Alex Matacia, a first-year in aviation and Park-Stradley resident. “We pay a lot of money to live around here, so it’s terrible. They should give us free housing. That’s what I think.”
Calhoun said the next step in the process comes Saturday, when the inspectors will have the results of tests on the building’s water. If the results are good, they can begin working on restoring hot water.
Though the process isn’t over, Calhoun said she’s happy to have students finally move back in.
“We’re just excited it’s done,” she said. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of work put into this and a tremendous amount of people that have helped us. The students have been awesome. They’ve been very gracious, very patient and we appreciate that.”
About 2,000 total students were evacuated due to the water main break, including residents in Baker Hall East and West, who were permitted to return to their rooms Monday at 7 a.m.
The Ohio Union was also evacuated Sunday night but reopened Monday at 7 a.m.
Park-Stradley opened Fall Semester after being closed as part of a $171 million South Campus renovation project. The building was occupied for about a month before the water main break.
Adams-Gaston sent an email to Park-Stradley residents at about 5 p.m. Wednesday informing them of the news.
“There is more work to be done, but we wanted to get you back into the residence hall as quickly as possible,” the email said. “Be aware that your lights and electrical outlets are working properly, but there will be no hot water or drinkable water (the toilets are functioning) for at least a couple more days. Bottled water will be provided, and you are welcome to shower at the RPAC … We will keep you informed as progress is made.”

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