Oak Street Hall renovations continue, expected to complete in August

Over 100 students affected by burst water pipes are adjusting to new living arrangements. (Julia Kapros/Roo News)

Kenzie Eklund

Nearly four months after flooding, construction on the Oak Street Residence Hall continues with hopes for a full restoration by the start of the fall semester in August.  

Freezing temperatures caused a water pipe to rupture within the building, causing significant damage to multiple rooms and floors. The incident forced nearly 150 students to relocate over the span of just a few days. 

Construction remains ongoing in Oak Street Hall after mold was discovered in some of the affected areas. (Julia Kapros/Roo News)

“I think the most bothersome thing for me was that I didn’t have time to settle in before school started,” said freshman Francesca Makuch, an Oak Hall resident affected by the water damage. “I felt like the new dorm wasn’t mine because I was just thrown in.”

Though the burst pipes caused abrupt transitions, Makuch was understanding of the university’s best efforts to help the residential life community. 

“I believe UMKC did a really good job trying to find adjustable living situations for students,” Makuch said. 

Makuch mentioned that the new living arrangements did, however, present new challenges for students who had to relocate away from the Volker campus. 

“The only issue I would say is that the students at Hospital Hill who don’t have cars have to use the shuttle,” Makuch said. “That isn’t what they signed up for, and the shuttles don’t wait for people.”

From the beginning, the displaced students were told by the university that their initial relocation would be the only reassignment and that there were no plans on moving them back into their original room designations. 

In the days following the burst pipe, communication from the university was sporadic and confusing for most students. Many students had missing items and were left wondering who to contact to begin the process of tracking down their personal possessions. 

“I was missing a lot of things, over 20 items I believe,” Makuch said. “I got most of them back, but I’m still missing some necklaces, earrings, Brita water filter, et cetera. I have not been compensated, but I am in contact with them.” 

Since all affected parties have since received their new living quarters, communication has improved and remains strong for students that have additional questions.

As the flooding at Oak Street Hall is not the first time something like this has taken place at UMKC, the university and maintenance teams are taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

“We encountered mold in the restricted work area and have taken immediate steps to prevent any spread,” said UMKC’s Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications John Martellaro.  

“Ongoing multiple air sampling tests by a third party indicate that mold has not migrated into occupied areas of the building and there is no hazard to the residents.”

More information about the Oak Street Residence Hall’s progress and residents’ experiences is available on the latest episode of RooTV.

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