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Holder Hall repair work finishes up, students move back in

After about a month of hearing hammering and seeing trucks line up outside Holder Hall entryway four, residents will be able to move back into their rooms.

On Feb. 21, a sprinkler head accidentally activated above the fourth entryway of Holder Hall, resulting in extensive water damage to the dorm rooms of multiple students. Holder Center 4B, home to the art gallery in Rockefeller College, where students study, work, and view their peers’ artwork, was also damaged by the activated sprinkler.


For all of March, Holder 4B was off limits. Additionally, the students who lived in the damaged rooms were forced to relocate.

“As a result of the extensive water damage, all hardwood flooring, floor molding, sheetrock, and carpeting were replaced,” said Michael E. Hotchkiss, a University spokesperson.

Facilities workers could be seen around Holder Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturday. ServPro, an outside contractor, assisted in getting rid of water damage in the first half of March, while demolition and construction work lasted for the rest of the month. By the end of the first week of April, students were ready to be moved back into their rooms.

“The team was able to complete the project despite the very tight project time frame, the need for similar remediation work elsewhere on campus, and severe weather,” Hotchkiss said.

Rocky College resident Ara Eagan ’21 and her three roommates were among the relocated students. Eagan had to alter her daily schedule after being moved into a printer lounge in Forbes College, which was remodeled as a temporary living space.

“Moving to Forbes, not only do I logistically have to take more time everyday figuring out how I’m getting to my class, but I have to leave 30 minutes early from Forbes to get to class instead of 15 minutes early from Rocky,” Eagan said.


Meanwhile, Michael Psenka ’21 and his roommates were moved into a Residential Graduate Student suite in Witherspoon Hall, still located in Rockefeller.

“The room was definitely a bit bigger, and I got used to [the room] being my new home fairly quickly,” Psenka said.

Now that they are back in their original rooms, the students said they are glad to once again be a part of the Rockefeller community.

“We missed Holder a lot,” Eagan said. “Especially the Rocky Staff and the personnel.”

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“I’m definitely going to miss my old room, but by the time I came back to [Holder] this past weekend, I really felt the nostalgia flow back from the start of the year and it just feels more like home,” Psenka explained.

Along with being back in the community, the students are also appreciating the renovated parts of entryway four and their rooms.

“They redid the floors, so we don’t get splinters anymore,” Eagan said with a chuckle. “They also re-painted the walls, and we got new doors.”

“The floorboards don’t creak anymore, which is wonderful,” Psenka added.

According to Hotchkiss, the University is taking steps to prevent something like this from happening again, both in Holder and anywhere else on campus.

“The cause of the water flow from the sprinkler head hasn’t been determined,” Hotchkiss said. “However, several steps have been taken to address potential causes of such water flow.”

Nearby sprinkler heads have been inspected for damage or failure, and shields are being installed around sprinklers at risk of being bumped into, which could prevent someone from accidentally setting one off.

“The sprinkler system is fully inspected and tested once a year and undergoes additional inspections every three months,” said Hotchkiss, adding that the most recent full inspection and test was conducted in June of last year.