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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Expensive dorms shouldn’t experience valve bursts

Steam billows from Patterson Hall West after a steam relief valve burst on Nov. 14. Opinion Columnist Lexi Nebel believes NIU dorms are too expensive for structural emergencies to occur so frequently. (Courtesy of Lydia Dunker)

On Tuesday, a steam valve ruptured in Patterson Hall, causing students to evacuate the building at 2 a.m. 

Although the emergency team responded quickly and efficiently, this is yet another example of the poor conditions of NIU dorms.

Freshman marketing major Madison Reed says she’s glad that no one was hurt during the ordeal.

“I live on the fifth floor right above where the smoke was coming from, so when I woke up I saw a bunch of smoke around my window,” Reed said. “Then the alarms went off and it was actually really scary. I was freaking out because I thought someone might be hurt or something in the building would be messed up, but overall I’m just glad everyone was okay.” 

This is also not the first time that Patterson has had problems with faulty building structure.

In 2022, there were three separate instances of a pipe bursting, causing flooding in the lobby. 

There is no reason that a dorm that costs over $7000 per semester should have such frequent problems.

As the weather gets colder, the odds of a pipe bursting become much higher, which is a big concern for students in the upcoming months.

College dorm buildings are not expected to be the nicest, but it should be expected that they have some degree of safety and livability.  

It may be time for NIU to look into more adequate installation to prevent pipes and valves from rupturing in the future. 

Although this may be expensive for the university, it’s nothing in comparison to the thousands of dollars worth of damage that can be caused by pipe and valve bursts. 

No damage was done to Patterson Hall this time, according to facilities management and campus services vice president, John Heckmann. However, it’s still slightly concerning to see the amount of problems that plague not only Patterson Hall, but all other dorm buildings as well. 

It’s time that NIU takes initiative and looks to make sure that all dorm buildings are in good condition for students to comfortably live. 

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