Shivering showers to cease at Hickory Hall

Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Freshman nursing major Morgan Scott faintly opens her eyes to a new morning, looking forward to a shower that will wash the sleep away.

Shuffling into the bathroom shower, she turns the handle halfway between hot and cold, but only cold water comes out – again.

Since move-in day, Hickory residents play a game of Russian roulette when they turn the handle of their shower, nervous they will receive a blast of cold.

Scott said cold showers are a nuisance and called them ice baths.

“It’s like a super loud alarm clock,” she said. “It’s a shock to your system… It makes you physically uncomfortable.

“I mean, it’s cold outside already, and it’s hard enough for college students to get up in the morning.”

Although Scott said she decides to take a shower regardless of the chilly water, many other Hickory residents back down and go through their day wishing they had taken one.

Freshman communication major Skylar Chambers said she prefers to wait for warmer water to practice sanitation.

“It’s inconvenient, it’s frustrating,” she said. “You can’t do much more than complain. I don’t like feeling dirty, it makes me angry.”

But there is a history of hot-water problems in Hickory.

Sophomore history education major and former Hickory resident Chris Wertz said he experienced similar annoyances when he lived there.

“One time, the water was cold for a whole day,” he said. “It was cold… throughout the whole building.”

According to Housing director Mark Dougherty, the sporadic problem is due to Hickory’s aged hot-water system. The first failure started with the thermostat and the second with the burner. Both instances happened within a week of each other.

Dougherty said that water-heater components gradually degrade and eventually break down.

“They’re just like any other machines; parts will fail and you have to replace them.”

Dougherty said he first heard of the issue after receiving complaints from Hickory residents last month.

Area Coordinator Erin Schutt said that, upon learning of the issue, replacement parts were summarily ordered.

“(We) make sure that every student is comfortable.” said Schutt.

Schutt said replacement parts were installed Sept. 30, marking an end to the cold-water struggle.

“Since the parts were replaced, it has been functioning correctly,” Dougherty said.

Regarding other freshman residence halls, Schutt said there have been no reports regarding hot water, although she said students should report any issues.

“If there are any concerns, tell your RD or RA so we’ll know about it,” she said.