On Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m., the ceiling in the apartment of University of Dallas seniors Paul Zepeda, Jacob Owens, John Paul Dieffenthaller and Angelo Novello came crashing down.
The cave-in was the result of a water leak that weakened the sheetrock until it collapsed.
The incident was just one of several recently involving leaks in the apartments of UD students in Tower Village.
The University News reached out to the Tower Village office about this issue, but both receptionist Shanice Ervin and her manager declined to comment.
Owens and his roommates noticed a small stain on their ceiling when they moved in at the beginning of this semester, but they didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until about a week ago that the stain started getting bigger.
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the roomates noticed the ceiling sagging, and Zepeda called Tower Village. The office said that they would send someone the next day, but the ceiling collapsed the following morning at 9 a.m. Maintenance cleaned up the mess and put a tarp over the hole in the ceiling, which is still leaking and collecting into a bucket, according to Owens.
“We don’t know when they’re going to fix [the leak]. [They said] sometime this week,” Owens said.
Owens added that he asked Tower Village whether asbestos was a possible health concern in their apartment. Asbestos is a mineral formerly used for building insulation that can be harmful if inhaled.
“I called them asked about asbestos and they said it shouldn’t be a concern … they said there shouldn’t be any asbestos in the ceiling,” Owens said.
However, in a recent interview with The University News, interim president Dr. John Plotts said that at the time of the sale there was “asbestos in all the buildings” in Tower Village.
The buildings at Tower Village have had structural issues in the past. In the same interview, Plotts said that some of the buildings had foundational problems at the time UD sold the complex.
“We actually had to tear some down because the foundation was so bad we couldn’t house them, so that’s why there are some green spaces over there,” Plotts said.
Owens and roommates are still living in the apartment while they wait for repairs.
While weather is certainly a factor in recent leaks, many Tower Village residents are upset about the prolonged periods before damages are fixed.
UD senior and Tower Village resident Monica Ryland reported having recently seen workers walking around on rooftops in Tower Village. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, workers came to take pictures of the leak in Ryland’s apartment, for which the work order was put in a month ago.
According to Ryland, the workers said they can only fix the leak by fixing the roof, and they needed to take photos to know what part of the roof it is.
The delay in fixing Ryland’s apartment may have been due to miscommunication with Tower Village maintenance.
“We submitted the work order on September 8, and then we got an email two days ago saying it’s been completed, and it definitely hasn’t,” Ryland said.
UD senior and Tower Village resident Olivia Hayes has also had communication issues with Tower Village. Hayes’ apartment had a pipe burst in the wall this past January; Tower Village fixed the pipe but never finished the job entirely, leaving three large holes exposing the inside of the wall.
“They had to knock out the wall to fix the pipe, and [in January] they said they would come back and fix the drywall,” Hayes said. “We put in four or five work requests since then, and we’ve called, and they just keep saying that, ‘oh we’re doing work requests right now,’ and just kind of passing us along.”