Vivek Suri

Morse College students who were displaced due to flooding in the dormitories over winter break will soon be able to move back into the college, Morse Head of College Catherine Panter-Brick wrote in an email to the College on Wednesday.

When two fire water mains burst in early January — sending water cascading down four floors in entryways A through D — 77 students, all sophomores, were forced to relocate. Sixty moved to McClellan Hall on Old Campus, and the remaining 17 moved to other vacant suites in Morse. After two weeks of repairs and renovations, the displaced students received good news yesterday morning.

“We expect that our displaced Morsels will move back from McClellan Hall into Morse this weekend,” Panter-Brick wrote in an email. “Rooms affected by the flooding in entryways A-D have been thoroughly dried, and cleaned, and are ALMOST ready to welcome occupants — the repair work has been both fast and extensive.”

Repairs included hanging new drywall and repainting affected areas. Construction and cleaning crews have been working around the clock to resolve the situation. The “Drying Phase,” as Panter-Brick described in another email, is almost over.

After a final inspection and certification of the rooms by Health and Safety, the displaced students will be able to move back in.

Morse Manager of Operations Alexa Martindale, who has helped lead the response to the emergency, said she was impressed by how quickly the crews working on the college dealt with the situation.

“This is really important to get out there — we had an amazing first response,” Martindale said. “From the fire department, who quickly discovered the burst pipes, to our own facilities and operations crews, to emergency services, management, access control and Yale security, everyone has done an incredible job to swiftly and efficiently address the situation.”

This is not the first time Morse has flooded in recent years. In 2005, a pipe burst due to frigid winter conditions and flooded the Morse and Stiles dining hall.

Martindale emphasized that Yale engineers have already installed temporary heaters and are working to ensure that an event like this does not happen again.

Rocel Balmes ’20, one of the sophomores relocated to McClellan, commented on how easy the relocation process was.

“They packed up all our stuff, nothing was broken and there was very little burden on me.”

Jessica Greenberg ’20, another displaced student, was also impressed by the quick response. At first, she explained, she and the other displaced students were frustrated, but living outside Morse was not as bad as she and her peers expected.

More than 40 rooms were affected by the flooding.

Lorenzo Arvanitis |