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‘The whole hallway was flooded’: Toilet causes dorm damage

“I was out with some friends walking around and I received a text in our hall group chat and this one was a picture of the hallway covered in water. The whole hallway was flooded,” said Eddie Browne (’27). Browne’s room was at the end of the pool of water, so he thought that his room would be safe from significant damage. However, on arrival back to his dorm, he saw that this was not the case.  

Two days before Family Weekend on the night of Nov. 1, the dorm rooms on the third floor of Holt Hall began to flood due to a plumbing issue. Between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., Holt Hall residents were alerted to the issue through various outlets, including a dorm group chat and Snapchat. 

“There was a lot of water on the floor. campus safety was there —they got there quite quickly —and they turned the water off,” said Browne.  

When the water began flooding out of the toilet, students started to come and investigate the commotion, one of which was Matt Dorsey (‘27). “Me, my friend and my roommate, were on the second floor below and we go upstairs, and I see my RA and a couple of other residents in the hall. Half the floor was covered in water.”  

“The issue was caused by a bad diaphragm in the toilet flush valve, and a clogged toilet,” said Assistant Vice President of Facilities Services Jeremy Williamson. “When the toilet was flushed with the clog, it caused the water to flow out of the toilet, flooding the floor.”  

Both Facilities and Campus Security made efforts to rectify the situation. Williamson described the measures that were taken to fix the issue, and explained that they “Shut off the water, cleared the clogged toilet, and replaced the defective part. The affected spaces were cleaned and sanitized within hours of the incident.” 

Campus Security helped students affected by the issue to fill out incident reports. They encouraged students to give a rough estimate of the potential damages.  

“They told me to give a rough idea of the damage and the costs of it. The campus safety officer who was in Holt told me to put down anything that was wet even if you don’t know if it was damaged or if you think its damaged,” said Browne.   

Many students have communicated their concerns about the dorms on campus.  

 “Holt is very old and the only thing that is really updated are the floors in Holt. The bathrooms are in a really bad state of disrepair — they are very old. It’s hard for the custodial staff to clean them because they are just dirty from being so old,” said Matt Dorsey (‘27). “Any projects that would update the housing on campus would be amazing.”  

Holt Hall was originally scheduled to be taken offline this academic year as part of larger construction efforts on campus. Ultimately, Holt Hall reopened to students in the fall following concerns about housing over the campus’ largest freshman class to date, but it will be taken offline ahead of the 2024-2025 academic year.  

When asked about if the issue shifted his perception of Rollins, Browne said, “it doesn’t affect how I see the school itself—maybe housing a little bit—but housing this year is very complicated.”  

Facilities Services have been working to manage issues like the Holt flooding as they arise.  

“Nothing could have been done to predict or ensure a different outcome. Each summer the residence halls receive routine maintenance for all plumbing equipment,” said Williamson.  

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