Some hot water returns to Stevenson, issues remain



Stevenson towers sit on the west side of campus. Hot water has returned, but may be inconsistent as pipes continue to be repaired. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

By Evan Mellon and Rachel Cormier

DeKALB – Hot water has returned to some residents of Stevenson Towers as of Wednesday after residents lost their ability to take a hot shower for almost a week.

According to NIU’s Public Information Associate Joe King, hot water returned to Stevenson’s buildings on Wednesday morning; however, services may be inconsistent until the hall’s water pumps are fully repaired.

Stevenson residents were notified about the problem by an email sent by graduate staff assistant Cristian Caraballo on Sunday. According to the email, an engineer was injured while attempting to fix the hall’s water issues to provide hot water.

In another email sent to residents by graduate hall director Alex Astiazaran Monday, Astiazaran elaborated and said the water issues were caused by a pump malfunction in the basement of Stevenson.

“Our university plumbers, electricians and engineers have been working since last night (Sunday) to make repairs,” Astiazaran said in the email. “They are continuing to do this work currently, but there is no timetable to know when all repairs will be complete.”

According to Astiazaran, there are minimal hot water services in Stevenson that students can access while the residence hall makes repairs.

Many residents originally resorted to calling other residents in separate Stevenson towers to use their hot water, before all of Stevenson Towers’ water was affected.

“It’s definitely been a struggle because it’s bad that I have to ask some of my friends in other halls if I can use their showers or manage it with the ice-cold water,” said first-year biomedical engineering student Boluwatife Efunkoya. “It’s really hindering my day to day life.”

Others have gone all the way to the NIU Recreation Center for hot water.

“Even then, like walking to a different tower, it was hard to carry everything and having to wait for a friend to let me up into their dorm,” said first-year biological science major Evelyn Gil.

Gil reported a lack of hot water on her floor in Stevenson Tower C a week before it affected all the Towers.

Along with a lack of warm water, some Stevenson residents reported water discoloration since the maintenance repairs began.

“I turned on my water to do the dishes, and I turned on the hot water and it didn’t come out, and then it sputtered, and then it came out orangey and I was like – that is gross,” said Mar Ortega, a first-year child development major.

No announcements about water discoloration were reported by hall directors.

According to an email from Joe King, repairs to fix the problem are underway.

“The university is working as quickly as possible, using all means at its disposal, to make repairs, but not all replacement parts are readily available, which has slowed the pace of the work,” King said. “As of now, we do not know when all repairs will be completed. However, partial repairs made yesterday have allowed us to restore hot water service and as of this morning water temperatures were improving.”

Many residents may have had enough of maintenance issues already, from the span of elevator repairs to a week of cold showers before finals week.

“For the price of Stevenson, and the distance and everything breaking, it makes it seem not worth it, and I’m really excited to not live here next year,” Ortega said.