FAMU Towers floods, forcing students to relocate

FAMU Towers contractors and developers dry the water and repair damages to the first floor study room. Photo by Delores Battle

FAMU Towers opened its doors in August to students moving in for the semester with high expectations that the $56 million, 700-bed facility would be a top-tier dorm. But while President Larry Robinson was holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony not long ago outside in the courtyard between the towers, some students were dealing with the repercussions of some internal damages.

Recently, Towers North residents were hit with a massive flood on the second floor of the building that leaked onto the main level study room. According to the developer and contractor of FAMU Towers, the flood was caused by a burst pipe. Director of University Housing Jennifer Wilder said she has been in contact with the contractors and the rest of the housing staff to ensure the construction and maintenance issues are being resolved.

“The developer and contractor brought in additional resources to help with getting the water up and drying out the affected space,” Wilder said. “University Housing responded immediately to this incident. It is our goal to provide transparency, timely responses and education if needed to ensure our students have a safe and positive stay.”

Despite the university’s best efforts to make sure students were unaffected by the flood, some students experienced the damages firsthand. Arianna Cromarty, a second-year secondary education major, had to relocate because the water damage affected her dorm room.

“The day during the flood I was actually in the middle of taking an exam,” Cromarty said. “I got up and noticed the water by the sink and I thought it was coming from my bathroom and it wasn’t there. But once I checked outside, it was water down our whole floor and people were yelling.”

Cromarty and a few other residents were told to pack a bag and a blanket for a few days and were relocated to another part of FAMU Towers. Three days after being sent to a new room, Cromarty and the other residents were told they were being moved permanently and they had until the end of the day to pack their belongings out of their old rooms and move into the new ones.

“I didn’t like the new rooms because there wasn’t enough time to grab food and other stuff,” Cromarty said. “But people did come help us move stuff out of the way in our rooms, so that was helpful.”

According to a statement issued by the FAMU Towers contractors, the repairs will take about three to four weeks to ensure the building is dried out completely and the damaged materials are replaced. The three to four week timeline is also to make sure the repair does not cause future problems because it was rushed.

“While it is unfortunate that we experience a major flood in the building, I know from experience that things happen in new buildings,” Wilder said. “Our developer and contractor have been very responsive and have instituted all corrective measures and precautions to repair the building back to its original state.”

When FAMU’s Polkinghorne Village East and West was first constructed, residents and housing staff experienced similar problems with burst pipes or faulty repairs.

Updates on construction and maintenance have been sent to affected students and damage claims have been filed for students affected firsthand.