Still fixing damages, On-campus faculty, guests, adjust after Winter Storm Uri

Winter storm Uri caused extensive damage in housing facilities on and around campus. Now, two weeks following the storm, maintenance staff is still working to fix these damages. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Matti Pennington | Reporter

Guest housing experienced power outages. Rolling blackouts. Busted pipes during the unexpected winter storm. Now, two weeks after the storm, maintenance staff is still working to fix damages.

Many faculty and guests of the university were impacted two weeks ago when Winter Storm Uri hit. The majority of the residents lost power at 5 a.m. on Feb. 15 and continued to experience rolling blackout for the following 48 hours. By noon on Feb. 17, power had been restored to all of the affected residents.

“That morning this issue was reported to Baylor Facilities Services, Aramark and Oncor,” Tony Brown said.

Brown is the associate director of guest housing and property management at Baylor.

“This service is provided for visiting faculty, new hires of the university relocating to Waco and for faculty/staff who are in the process of buying, selling, or building a new home,” Brown said.

Professor Matthew Brammer travels back and forth to Arizona where his wife and kids live, and utilizes Guest Housing while in Waco. When he heard the news of the storm he reached out to his friend and weather forecaster at KXXV. After speaking with his friend, Brammer decided to get on the last flight to Arizona.

“On Thursday morning, Facilities Services were inspecting the exterior of the buildings and noticed water coming out Mr. Brammer’s apartment,” Brown said. “After investigating the situation, it was determined that two water pipes burst in the spare bedroom ceiling impacting two other apartments.”

Brammer received an email from Baylor Housing notifying him of what had happened to his apartment.

“They told me that maintenance noticed water coming from the apartment, knocked on the door and no one answered, obviously because I was not there,” Brammer said. “They then opened to door and there was four to seven inches of water on the ground of my apartment.”

When the pipe busted, it destroyed his camera and several other of his personal belongings.

Facilities Services contracted out a restoration company to extract the water and fully assess the damage before Brammer returned back to Waco. The first few nights back in Waco, Brammer stayed in a hotel and with a friend until housing could relocate him to a different apartment.

“Although it was inconvenient, they worked really hard to try to make it as effortless and painless as possible,” Brammer said.

In addition to Brammer’s apartment, one other unoccupied apartment had a water leak in an upstairs bathroom. Faculty Services is working to get that damage fixed before its next schedule guest arrives in March.

“Moving forward there will be additional communication to all of those utilizing guest housing about potential impacts of weather events and planned outages,” Brown said. “Given the unique situation that this weather system presented a region that is not familiar with consistent, cold temperatures and ice, sleet, snow, guest housing was able to survival minimal damage compared to various other buildings across campus or around Waco.”