The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Damages cost health center thousands

 Damages cost health center thousands
Photo by John Schreiber, The Daily Campus
Damages cost health center thousands

Damages cost health center thousands (Photo by John Schreiber, The Daily Campus)

Students who visited the Memorial Health Center in the last few weeks found themselves in a messy situation – bare floors instead of carpet, furniture rearranged and pushed together, and the entire first floor crowded into about half the space.

The slippery situation in the health center resulted from water flooding from a broken air-conditioning unit on the first floor. The front entrance of the health center remains blocked off, and students must come in through the back door to access the building.

Health center director Patrick Hite and registered nurse June Tehan discovered the flood Monday morning at 7:30. Hite estimated that the flood began late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Water damaged a computer and fax machine in Room 123 and ruined most of the hallway carpeting on the first floor. The floors from the initial situation were vacuumed and cleaned by a company called Balfor.

“It damaged a little bit of supplies,” Hite said, “but didn’t do anything monumental.” Total cost of the water damage will be between $30,000 and $40,000.

The health center, serving students since 1960, holds many of its original air-conditioning units. Four air-conditioning units have broken in the 10 years that Hite has served as director. Two of the units broke during the day and were noticed before any real damage could occur.

The health center normally operates with six exam rooms and serves 70 to 75 students a day. Because of water damage, it currently serves about 50 students a day, according to the front desk. The health center will be able to accommodate the normal amount of students by March 20, according to Hite, and will be fully functional by summer.

“It usually takes eight weeks for new air conditioning units to come in,” Hite said.

The second floor of the center was unaffected, and Hite commented on the patience of the nurses on the first floor.

“We have great nurses,” Hite said. “They are really jumbled down there.”

Hite said the nurses have been bothered by the general dust and dirt of the repairs but that their work has not changed.

Students make up the largest group of people affected by the health center flooding. Chris Chambers, a senior philosophy major and infrequent visitor to the health center, was not pleased with the overall situation. After Chambers was told the health center wouldn’t be fully repaired until the summer, he said, “I think it should be higher priority [for the university].”

When he learned that his student tuition and fees are used to pay for the running of the health center, Chambers voiced his disappointment at how his tuition money is being used.

“I’m not sure why there isn’t enough funding, especially in a health care facility,” Chambers said. “It’s not good. It’s not healthy.”

Dr. Nancy Merrill, who has worked at the health center for 11 years, wasn’t pleased with the initial reaction of the administration.

The response was delayed, she said, but “I guess it takes a while to get people’s attention.”

After a staff meeting yesterday, Merrill’s feelings changed.

The staff discussed planning additional space for more exam rooms, which will be converted from current offices, and talked about the possibility of laying down tile instead of carpet for a more sterile environment.

“We’ve got to do what’s best for the students,” Merrill said.

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