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Students displaced after pipe bursts

Costs related to the Coyote Village evacuation Jan. 21 are expected to well exceed the $50,000 deductible included in the University of South Dakota’s insurance coverage, said Roberta Ambur, vice president for Administration and Information Technology.

Ambur, who ran daily staff briefings following the evacuation, said the university is working with the insurance company on estimating the amount, and the university will not be releasing this information to the media, because “it is between USD and our insurance company.”

Ambur is also taking the lead in collecting all the costs totaled from repairs, clean-up efforts, staff pay and overtime and hotel rooms.

“There will be a pretty good cost, definitely significant with all the extra hours, all the hotel rooms, all the parts,” Said Tena Haraldson, USD’s director of communications and media relations, said.

Aside from the cost, the university is still dealing with clean-up efforts in Coyote Village. Three students were swapped out of their first floor residential rooms because of wet floors. Haraldson said USD officials were concerned that the furniture or walls had been damaged, but after a few days of utilizing heaters and smart bathroom fans, two rooms were holding up well. When the rooms dry, Haraldson said officials will re-evaluate them and determine if students can live in them again.

“Mold can be a risk with areas of water damage, but pipe that broke was carrying clean, treated water from the city,” Haraldson said.

There were not natural bacteria in the water, but Haraldson said if items in the rooms get wet, mold could colonize. The university is dealing with the mold threat directly by extracting any water from the rooms, spraying the rooms with disinfectant, spraying an enzyme on any affected areas, which is anti-microbial and anti-fungal, and stains in the carpet and on surfaces.

After the water-damaged areas of Coyote Village are treated, Haraldson said a flood recovery expert will come in to evaluate and determine any risks in the room.

“They’ll peel back the carpet, looks in all the nooks and crannies,” Haraldson said. “If anything would colonize, they would tear it up, and correct the problem.”

Some students displaced during the Coyote Village evacuation are less than pleased with the university’s response to the sudden emergency.

Senior Taylor Moore has been a resident of Coyote Village for the past three years, and felt the situation could have been handled better.

“My biggest problem was with crisis management and the public relations department at USD,” Moore said. “There should have been a crisis management plan already in place for this type of incident.”

Moore said the organization of hotel rooms and getting students to class could have been done more efficiently.

Sophomore Katie Staley said the university is due credit to taking care of it’s students during the evacuation.

“Administrators did an awesome job finding everyone some place to stay, and making sure we all stayed fed during those three days,” said Staley.

However, when Staley went to gather items from her room during the temporary displacement, the lack of essential safety was cause for concern.

“There weren’t flood lights in the hallways or anything,” Staley said.

Moore said the lack of power caused him to lose over a hundred dollars of perishable foods.

“I would have really like to have seen a plan for perishable items in place before this kind of thing happens,” Moore said. “But now they just need to work towards supplementing students for the items lost.”

Staley said she is glad the experience is over.

“We felt like hobos for a couple days there,” Staley said.