On Sunday night, residents of Southern Utah University’s Juniper Hall were advised by SUU administration that due to a failure in the building’s heating system they would all need to relocate to other housing locations by Sunday, November 6.
The 227 residents were provided a variety of housing options including: relocation to vacant beds on campus, the voluntary tripling of rooms within the on-campus housing inventory and the transitioning to off- campus locations. The University is also soliciting faculty, staff and community members to open their homes to students wherever possible.
On Thursday morning, housing personnel noticed the heating system was not holding pressure and that water was not being retained within the closed system. Because Juniper Hall was designed and built nearly 50 years ago, the water lines are buried in concrete floors making the assessment process extremely difficult. Experts were brought in to help housing maintenance staff locate what was believed to be a break in the pipe. Once located, the floor was jack -hammered to allow access to the pipe and temporary repairs were completed.
“While temporary repairs have been made and there is currently no threat to student comfort, the age of the building and the significant impact a subsequent break could have on Juniper residents caused University administration to make the difficult decision to relocate the residents. “said Donna Eddleman, vice president for student services. “A pipe was cut and capped which allowed for the escaping water to be retained and the pressure within the system to increase; however, the general consensus is that when the colder weather arrives, we will not be able to run the heating system at full pressure. The system’s infrastructure has been compromised. We think it best to take advantage of the warmer weather, relocate students now and not simply hold-out hope that the system will survive the winter.”
The University will provide pro-rated refunds for any Juniper residents who wish to be released from their University housing agreement and find their own off-campus accommodations. SUU will also offer $300 scholarships for spring semester to all Juniper students being inconvenienced by this move. The University community will work cooperatively to aid students in their transition, including plans to help students move to their alternate locations.
Individuals interested in offering accommodations are encouraged to complete the information online at www.suu.edu/housing/host or by calling the Office of the Vice President for Student Services at 435.586.7710.