On Labor Day, the University of Toledo saw two and a quarter inches of rain fall in merely half an hour. The immense amount of rain overwhelmed the sewer system outside of Carter Hall.
“It found ways to get into Carter Hall through various means and went down the hallway and affected the first floor of Carter East,” said Brad Ledingham, the area coordinator in the Office of Residence Life.
The rainwater invaded the first floor of the 52-year-old hall, damaging the carpets and entering students’ rooms. The residents were quickly relocated so that the facilities teams could resolve the situation. The hall director and Carter Hall resident assistants responded promptly to guide the first-year students, Ledingham said.
“We needed to be able to be in the room to have fans going and to have the humidifier going to remove any kind of buildup of bacteria or mold,” Ledingham said.
The Student Affairs team arrived on the scene and provided pizza to the residents and took them to a dry lounge, according to Meghan Cunningham, director of university communications.
“What the Student Affairs team did is offer those students who would be displaced during the cleanup some place to go,” Cunningham said.
The students were offered alternative accommodations for the night, including Carter West, Academic House and International House. Some students preferred to stay with friends, while a few lodged off campus at the nearby Holiday Inn, Ledingham said.
“We got the water out within a few hours of staff getting there so everyone could go back in their rooms by late afternoon Tuesday,” Ledingham said.
Precautions are being undertaken to prevent such an event from recurring. Ledingham said sandbags are placed outside of the entrances when chances of heavy rainfall are high.
“Since that time, the facilities team jetted the lines, and they made sure to clear it out of debris in the hopes that future rain will be handled without those issues,” Cunningham said.
Having been closed for a couple of years, Carter Hall reopened this year because of Parks Tower’s ongoing renovations. While no substantial changes have been made to Carter Hall yet, its role as a dorm is temporary.
“The long-term plan actually is to bring the athletic fields over from Scott Park to where Carter Hall currently is, to have a baseball and softball complex there,” Cunningham said.
The incident has been chalked up to unpredictable weather and unfortunate storm drain placement.
“Unfortunately around the world you see a lot of storms going on right now, the hurricanes and earthquakes in Mexico,” Cunningham said. “It’s important to be able to prevent as much as possible but also to respond as quickly as you can.”