By Anne Walker | Staff Writer, Video by Tim Longoria | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor and Waco are continuing to navigate this week’s winter weather as they experience below freezing temperatures and power outages with no known end in sight.
Baylor announced on Tuesday that the McLane Student Life Center (SLC) would open at 4 p.m. as an emergency warming location. The center will remain open throughout the night for off-campus residents that lack power, heat or water.
Waco residents should expect temperatures to remain below freezing and prepare for snow flurries and freezing rain Tuesday night.
On Monday night, Baylor designated the Bill Daniel Student Center (SUB) as an emergency warming location on campus.
“More than 1,200 students total stopped in at the SUB yesterday to warm up, charge their phones or grab a coffee from Common Grounds,” university spokesperson Lori Fogleman said via email.
However, Fogleman estimated that only 30 students stayed in the SUB overnight.
“With power still out in some areas and the continued freezing temperatures, we anticipate we will have more students overnight at the SLC,” Fogleman wrote.
Baylor relocated the emergency warming location to the SLC because it offers more suitable facilities to accommodate students.
“We have better temperature control and much more space in the SLC in addition to shower facilities, which students who have no power and water will certainly welcome,” Fogleman explained.
The SLC is expected to serve as a last resort for students until Waco’s winter conditions improve and power is restored to the area.
Baylor recommended students come with phone chargers, sleeping bags, towels and toiletries if they intend to stay overnight. Baylor informed students that no food or drinks would be offered at the SLC.
“If they have snacks or microwavable meals to bring along with a refillable water bottle, that will be helpful and add to their comfort” Fogleman said.
Baylor will continue to provide food and hygiene items for students in need at The Store in Sid Richardson. The Store will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Baylor has instructed on-campus residents to follow university emergency protocols and proceed to their temporary cold weather evacuation points in the case of a building emergency.
Arranged by hall, the indoor evacuation points are: Brooks Dining Hall (for Penland residents), Penland Dining Hall (for Martin, North Russell, South Russell and North Village residents), Collins Lounge (for Brooks College, Memorial Hall and Alexander Hall residents), Brooks Dining Hall (for Kokernot and Brooks Flats residents), Memorial Dining (for Collins, Dawson Hall and Allen Hall residents), East Village Dining Hall (for Teal Hall and Earle Hall residents), and UP Clubhouse (for University Parks residents).
Campus Living and Learning has directed students to prepare by having their mask, student ID and warm clothes ready to go for an unexpected evacuation.
Fogleman urges students to arrive at the SLC as soon as possible to avoid the next weather system. Students that plan to sleep at the SLC should arrive by 10 p.m., before the doors will be locked due to security concerns. Students can seek shelter at the SLC after 10 p.m., but will need to call to gain access to the center.
Inclement weather and power outages also led Baylor to cancel in-person and remote instruction for students on Wednesday.
Fogleman affirmed Baylor’s commitment to assist students during this historic weather event.
“Student Life and Campus Recreation staff members are prepared to assist any of our students who have lost power at their apartments or homes and need a warm place to stay, access to a shower, a place to plug in their phones and laptops and just be supported during this unprecedented winter weather event,” Fogleman wrote.