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Displaced Oak Street residents share their experiences

Earlier this month, UMKC notified Oak Street Hall residents that flooding in the building damaged several rooms on all five floors of the north and west wings. The university had to provide alternative living arrangements for the approximately 150 students affected by the accident.

“I didn’t have much of a reaction when I first heard about the floods,” said Mary Gibson, a former Oak Street resident. “I got the initial email and thought, ‘Oh no, I live in the Northwest Wing,’ but after I didn’t receive the follow-up letter that was promised to students whose rooms were affected, I thought nothing had happened to my room.”

Due to lack of communication and short notice, not all students received the email transporting them from the dormitory.

“I found out two or three days before moving that I was going to be moved, it was a huge shock,” Gibson said. “I actually had to reach the front desk in an email a few days before the start of term before anyone told me that my roommate and roommate had moved us because of the water damage.”

UMKC sent out housing assignments on January 12, moving students to Johnson Hall and Hospital Hill apartments.

“I wasn’t surprised when I learned I had to move,” said Francesca McCoch, another Oak Street resident. “I’ll say it was kind of a stress from sending the initial ‘pipe blast’ email, and then two days later I finally knew I had to move.”

Due to the need to act quickly and limit damages, the school hired a moving company to move all of the students’ personal items from their dorms to their new living quarters. However, not everything went according to plan.

“I had about 30 pieces missing,” McCutch said. “After I emailed the housing individually, I was able to get some of my items back, but not all of them, which is rather unfortunate.”

In addition, many students were separated from their original dorm mates and placed with random students.

“My roommate recently moved to a different college so I eventually had my own room, only to realize I would have to move away from the room I was comfortable in to a new room with new people in,” McCutch said.

The tension didn’t just go away after the first incident, as the students had to worry about challenges in their new housing.

“I’m no longer with my roommate from Oak Street Hall, and I have to travel now,” Gibson said. “I had to go through all my things once I got to my new place because I had to sort through all the boxes in the new room to see if the dorm had accidentally given me anything from my roommate’s belongings when they packed our things.”

Although some complications from flooding and moving did occur, some students still managed to find a bright side.

“I enjoy the people on my ward, and I am grateful that they are all so cheerful,” McCutch said. “It made moving so much easier with all the positive energy I was surrounded by.”

cmlyry@mail.umsl.edu

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