Mold issues has newly-renovated UCO dorm closed and 300 incoming students displaced

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EDMOND, Okla. - 300 students were ready to move in at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond when they found out that their newly-renovated dorm was temporarily closed due to mold, just one week before school starts.

School officials said that on Friday, mold was discovered in several dorm room closets in Murdaugh Hall, one of the oldest dorms on campus. An email went out to students that they would have to be relocated while the mold is removed.

"I found out 11 o’clock-ish the night before I was supposed to move in," incoming freshman Garrett Scott said. "I'm just kind of freaking out, I’m waking my parents up, I’m like, 'We got a big problem.'"

Adrienne Nobles, Assistant Vice President for University Communications said all of the students who had already moved in early, and the students who have yet to move in this weekend were relocated to other dorms around campus.

"A problem like this is something that is never expected but our staff worked quickly and efficiently on Friday once the problem was found," Nobles said. "They had everyone in new rooms within hours and have been working to update students throughout the week."

News 4 spoke to freshman Abby Wright as she was timing the distance from her dorm to her classroom. She said she and her roommate were temporarily moved into West Hall. It hasn't been bad, but Wright's eager to settle in.

"I’ve met new people in West which is really fun, but I mean I’m ready to get into my permanent room because I just want to- I like routine," she said.

Nobles said she gets that.

"We certainly understand the frustration, students are ready to get into their room and get settled as they go into the new semester," Nobles said. "We are doing the best that we can to accommodate everyone during this time and we hope to get the facility back open as quickly as possible."

The dorm is closed while Noble said crews are scrubbing, conducting remediation and removal of the mold, and ensuring the air quality in every room comes back clear.

She said when the dorm was renovated in 2017, a blockage in the plumbing caused a leak.

Nobles said, "it had taken this long for the blockage to result in a leak."

That leak was discovered Friday.

Students said the relocation process was even stressful at times because not all of the rooms students would be reassigned to were ready immediately.

"I was frustrated, and my parents definitely because we were ready to go on Saturday when they said they had extra room for people," freshman Karen White said. "Then when we were barely there, they send out an email saying, 'Hey, you can’t come. Sorry, we don’t have room.'"

White finally moved in Thursday and Nobles said everyone has been given a temporary new spot.

Once Murdaugh Hall reopens, students will have the option to stay put where they were moved to temporarily, or UCO will offer assistance to get them moved back over.

"I thought about getting some stuff out today but decided not to, just because I don’t really see the point," Scott said. "I have less than a week, hopefully."

Nobles also said that students will be given a credit on their accounts depending on when they move in and how many days were spent out of Murdaugh Hall.

If they choose to stay in another residence hall, they will still pay the Murdaugh Hall rate, not an increased rate.

However, Nobles couldn't say when the dorm will reopen.

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