Water Update #2

In the rapidly changing water picture, here is where we stand.

1.  We have no heat in all buildings except Irby Science (wings only), The Cube, Raymond Hall, Maintenance, and the Gym. All other buildings are on our steam system that requires water.

2.  Only a minimal office staff will be on site tomorrow. Supervisors are working out schedules for each office.

3.  We will be locking all buildings for the remainder of the week, and staff and others who need access will need to contact security 601-968-5900.

4.  Many of the students have gone home, but those who are still on campus have been moved to homes or to the Sleep Inn in Flowood.

5.  Food service for the remaining students will be delivered to the hotel. The final meal in the dinning commons on campus will be tonight.

6.  Once the water returns, we expect to have some internal broken pipes because of the freeze tonight and the lines not being filled with running water tend to break.

7.  We fully expect to be ready to go for Monday as planned for the traditional students, but we should know much more by tomorrow afternoon about the progress the city is making.  The city has fixed 2/3rd of the broken pipes, and has brought in crews from neighboring towns to work with them. There was a fire at the water treatment plant last night, which makes it even more difficult to restore water pressure.

8.  We will make a decision tomorrow afternoon regarding Wednesday evening graduate and adult classes.  Without water pressure so the heat and restroom facilities are working, those classes will not meet.

While this is difficult for us all, it is an important reminder of how vital water is to us, and how much we take for granted in God’s goodness to us.

1 out of 7 people in the world do not have access to clean water (not just for a few days like we’re experiencing…and we still have bottles)  One of my favorite groups working to help those who need water is Blood:Water Mission, the work by Jars of Clay and led my by friend Jenna Lee – if you’d like to help those who don’t have clean water.

Jesus said,

And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded. Matthew 10:42

IMPORTANT – Semester Start Delayed Until Monday January 18th

Because of the water crisis in Jackson, we will NOT open the spring semester on Wednesday as planned.  Here are a number of important decisions and dates.  (These changes are only for the Jackson campus)

TRADITIONAL STUDENTS

1.  Classes will NOT begin on Wednesday this week, but will start on MONDAY, JANUARY 18th.

2.  To make up the class time, we will NOT hold our traditional Martin Luther King Service Day project on Monday, but will have regularly scheduled classes on Monday next week.

3.  Students who are traveling to campus, or have already arrived and live within driving distance are encouraged to return home through the weekend, arriving back on campus on Sunday in time for class Monday morning.

4.  For students who are already on campus and cannot return home, we have bottled water for drinking, temporary restrooms set up outside, and the dinning commons will provide meals – on paper plates, etc.  We do have enough water to keep the heating boilers for the campus running at this point.

ADULT AND GRADUATE STUDENTS

1.  Classes will NOT meet tonight – Tuesday.

2.  We will make a decision daily regarding the meeting of class each evening.

3.  Classes will resume as soon as water pressure is restored to the campus.

CAMPUS OFFICES AND EMPLOYEES

1.  Offices will remain open this week, and the registration process for the spring semester will continue through the week.

2.  Employees should work with their supervisors on flexible hours in order to assure the offices remain open during regular business hours.   Supervisors will work with you so that some employees can return home for long lunch hours, or come in late or leave early, or work from home to make the crisis easier to handle.  We understand that many employees (like me) do not have any water pressure at home and thus are needing to cope with their family emergencies as well.

Notice to Students and Employees Regarding the Water Situation in Jackson

As you may know from the news reports, the city of Jackson is coping with a significant number of water lines break, causing low water pressure in some parts of the city and other portions without water at all. There are over 80 breaks currently reported.

Obviously we need water to run the campus, and thus if the breaks are not fixed soon we will need to delay the start of the regular semester on Wednesday this week.

As of right now, we have lost most of the water pressure on campus.

We expect to know much more in the morning after the water crews have worked through the night.  Of course, we’re hopeful that the primary damage is corrected by then, but we won’t know until tomorrow.

We have taken a number of steps today to best serve those student on campus and our employees:

1.  We keep a quantity of emergency water on hand in case of a hurricane (7,200 bottles). We have distributed bottles of drinking water to the residence halls.

2. The dining commons kitchen will only use bottled water for cooking until the boil water notice is lifted – which will not happen until several days after the water lines are repaired.

3.  We have had  12 portable toilets delivered for the campus.  Hopefully they won’t be needed for long.

4.  To guard against the H1N1 flu, this fall we had installed hand sanitizers all over campus. Today we  put in some additional units in the residence halls.

5.  We canceled classes for tonight, and tomorrow afternoon will make a decision  about ASPIRE and graduate classes for Tuesday night.

6.  Administrative offices will be open tomorrow.

7.  We will make a decision in the morning about the delay of the start to the spring semester once we are able to evaluate the progress the city makes working overnight.

If students are preparing to travel back to campus, and would be more comfortable delaying your trip until the picture is clearer, we encourage you to wait if you prefer.  As you know, our faculty at Belhaven will always work with you to overcome difficulties, and thus if you don’t arrive by Wednesday, we’ll get you caught up as soon as you get here (even if we do go ahead with the start of the semester on Wednesday as planned.)

When we know more in the morning, I’ll post an update.