On Monday, February 16, around 12 p.m., the latest episode in the floodwaters of Founders left four halls a little soggy but undamaged, when a pipe connected to the roof drain came loose and allowed icy storm water to temporarily leak into the building.
Resident Assistant Savannah Gorman was in her room on Caledon when Charlotte Hubert, Soph., knocked on her door and informed her there was water leaking from Caledon’s walls. The water seeped out at the base of the walls and into the carpet.
“We were really confused at first. We thought maybe there were people showering but it sounded like the water was running down the inside of the wall,” said Gorman. She reported the incident to Kevin McAlvey, the Resident Director of Founders, who unscrewed a wall panel to find the source of the water.
“When we looked inside we could see daylight and a ton of water pouring in,” said Gorman. “The water was really cold.”
The girls soaked up as much water inside the wall as they could with towels. Later they discovered the water had travelled three floors below and had puddled in Catacombs.
“I’m afraid there weren’t many towels left for them to use,” Gorman said, laughing.
Corey Dupree, the Director of Facilities Management, reported there was little to no damage done to the building. Facilities repaired and reconnected the pipe the same day.
“Some water needed to be extracted from carpet and wiped up. The carpet team accomplished this as soon as the repair was completed,” said Dupree.
“[Facilities] sucked up the water with their vacuums and we had fans on our hall for a few days,” Gorman said. “Thankfully, no one’s stuff was damaged. After that overflowing toilet though, everyone is making jokes about Founders being attacked by water.”
The leak happened the day after Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 15 counties, including Dade & Walker counties, in anticipation of the winter storm (11Alive News). Consequently, many public schools in Georgia closed, including Covenant, in preparation for the storm.
“There were no other damages reported on campus, from the ice storm or otherwise,” said Kevin Patty, Director of Safety and Security. They took precautions with the falling ice after the sun came out and there were reports of large sheets sliding off Carter Tower, but no one was injured.
Patty works closely with Dean of Students, Brad Voyles, Dupree, and Grounds Supervisor, Ron Thomas when inclement weather threatens campus.
“We have to take into account a lot of different issues. When Georgia declares a state of emergency we have to take that into consideration. When there’s snow or ice we have to decide how long it will take to clear campus or how long it will take to make campus safe. It’s definitely a group effort,” said Patty. He keeps an eye on the National Weather Forecast and local forecasts.
“If we have time we cover the roads and sidewalks with a salt-brine, that lowers their freezing point. We also have a snow plough we can hook up to utility vehicles,” said Patty. The grounds crew also makes good use of Covenant’s shovels.
“The students and faculty are always our main concern. We want to make everyone aware of what’s going on and stays safe, ” he said.
Winter Storm Octavia was not as kind to other parts of North Georgia and Tennessee. Weather.com reported the ice that accumulated on the power lines caused over 150,000 power outages by Tuesday morning. They mentioned the winter storm of 2014 that “snarled traffic for days,” leaving many people stranded on the interstate. This time, Georgia prepared early, declaring a state of emergency on Sunday night.
Weather.com reported that Octavia also left thousands without power in Tenn. due to iced powerlines and tree damage. Three deaths were reported due to icy road conditions. National Weather Service Nashville said Octavia was “the most significant winter storm the city has seen in 20 years.”