Students react to campus closure

Athens City engineer Andy Stone talks with crews as they respond to a water main break that started around 5 a.m. Thursday on West State Street. (Photo by Patrick Connolly)

Miranda Carver snuck into her residence hall bathroom to take a shower, despite the boil order in Athens Thursday morning.

“People are saying there’s a boil order, but people drink dirty water from Mexico all the time,” Carver, a freshman studying astrophysics, said. “I’ll be fine.”

Ohio University’s main campus closed Thursday morning at 7:45 a.m. following a water main break, canceling all classes Thursday. The City of Athens water main break affects most buildings, which will experience either little or no water pressure, according to an email alert sent out by the university.

Students should avoid using the bathrooms and showers in the residence halls and instead utilize the 75 Port-A-Johns the university imported and placed between buildings, Housing and Residence Life said in an email.

“It’s disgusting,” Bailey Sanders, a freshman studying psychology and social work, said after using a portable toilet. “I hated it.”

Some students are still enjoying the luxury of indoor plumbing, including Erika Rominger, a freshman studying social work.

“Our cleaning lady filled up buckets of water in case the toilets don’t flush, so hopefully I don’t have to use the porta potty,” she said.

All classes, including evening classes and activities, are canceled until further notice. Baker Center, Alden Library, Hudson Health Center and Ping Recreation Center are also closed.

“I think it’s strange,” Jennifer Morton, a sophomore studying nutrition, said. “It feels like a snow day, but there’s no snow. I don’t really understand how it happened or why, especially for the whole city.”

Dining halls will remain open Thursday, according to a tweet from Jenny Hall-Jones, the dean of students. Options will be limited to meals that can be made without water, she said, and will be served on paper plates.

“I didn’t notice anything different,” Morton said after eating at Shively Dining Hall. “It seems like they have everything out they normally have.”

All areas west of U.S. 33 and north of the Hocking River will not have access to water until further notice. The break occurred near the water treatment plant on West State Street, an alert sent out from the City of Athens said.

The City of Athens is actively working to repair the line, Andy Stone, the city engineer and director of public works, said. The boil order in place will expire Friday at noon.

“We’ve accessed the break,” he said. “We will repair it as quickly as we can. … Once everything is resolved, we will address the boil order.”

The university said it will update students on the situation at 4 p.m. Thursday.


Originally published for The Post on Feb. 16, 2016


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