By Behdad Mahichi
Students on campus residences have been experiencing a greater number of water outages due to construction and a waterline break. However, Pitman Hall has had it worst — with a total of five outages this semester so far.
The building was left without water for six hours on March 20, following a four-hour water outage the week before.
“They said the water was out from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., but I checked at 9 a.m. and there was no water. It came back at 10 before going off again,” first-year fashion student Abby Bohna said. “It’s annoying. At this point it feels like we’ve had one every week.”
Students are given notice by email of the outages 24 to 48 hours prior.
Every time the water is shut off, the Pitman cafeteria must close accordingly. Even when the water is restored, the cafeteria remains closed for the remainder of the day.
“I don’t think they prepared us enough. I thought breakfast would be served before [the water] shut off,” said Amel Sebaa, a first-year economics and finance student.
Some students find themselves scrambling to get a fast and easy meal before their morning classes. “There’s not that many other [OneCard] options when Pitman isn’t open for breakfast in the morning,” said Michael Bennitz, a second-year public health student who raced to class after realizing he couldn’t eat at Pitman.
Although yearly water maintenance is common in residence apartments, Pitman Hall has experienced a higher number than in prior years.
Jen Gonzales, residence life and education coordinator, said the issue has to do with this year’s cold winter. “Several buildings in proximity to Pitman have also had to undergo repairs due to the waterline breakage,” she said.
The other fast option would be the cafeteria at the International Living and Learning Centre (ILLC), which becomes flooded by students of the two residences. Contrary to Pitman, ILLC has not received many inconvenient water outages. There have been three this semester.
A number of students who live in Pitman claim the inconveniences should lower their living costs. Students pay around $10,000 to $12,000 for their eight-month rent.
“I don’t think we should have to pay the same as previous years,” said Siobhan Bell, a first-year radio and television arts student. “Considering all the things we had to deal with this year, it’s just not fair.”
Deducting from the rent is not possible — Gonzales explained the residency contract reserves the right to turn off water at any time.
Nearing the end of the eight-month rent, students in Pitman Hall are getting ready to pack their bags and find a new home, while others stay for summer residency. Gonzales says she is hoping last week’s water outage will be the last of this semester.