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Repairs to Shipp Hall result in temporary gas shut off

Tatum Mogck
Lillian Orr ‘26 calls Campus Security to make them aware of a gas smell. Students that live in Shipp dorm experienced a gas leak.

On Monday, Sept. 18, students living in Shipp Residence Hall received an email from the Office of Residence Life alerting them that due to a minor exterior gas leak, the gas to their building would be temporarily shut off.

Lillian Orr ‘26 initially alerted the college of a potential problem after she recognized a strong, unpleasant smell in and around Shipp Hall.

“I knew that something was wrong because we’ve had gas leaks at my house before,” said Orr. “I just know how dangerous it is if you get carbon monoxide poisoning, so I figured it could’ve gotten worse if no one had said anything.”

This observation led Orr to report the issue to Campus Safety, especially after the smell lingered and strengthened in and outside of Shipp Hall over the course of several days.

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However, Orr said that her claims were initially misinterpreted as the result of a leak that occurred at a nearby plant.

Eventually, Wofford Facilities were made aware of the situation.

The Facilities staff got to work determining the cause and exact location of the problems Orr reported. Bill Littlefield, director of facilities, said that they discovered that a “fitting was leaking and leading to the smell.”

Though Orr noticed the smell on the interior of the building, the issue was ultimately proven to be exterior, dismissing initial concerns about student health and safety.

“The gas main that serves gas to the building had a leak,” said Littlefield, “The extent of the issue was on the exterior of the building.”

Once the facilities team got to work, “the repair took just a couple of hours to complete.”

Amidst these repairs, the only direct impacts to residents, including the odor, proved to be temporary. Gas to Shipp Hall was shut off, resulting in no heat for the building’s dryers or hot water for the showers.

But due to the lack of longevity of the repair, students were not detrimentally affected by the shutoff of the building’s gas.

Orr’s report also prompted a thorough inspection of interior halls, both before and after the repairs.

No elevated levels of carbon monoxide were detected, per the email sent to residents.

The issue in Shipp Hall was largely inconsequential, yet its existence and repair serve to remind Wofford students of the necessary communication chain between students and staff.

As a smaller campus, Wofford advertises both a closer relationship between students and faculty as well as between students and staff.

Instances with academics, safety, and building maintenance, if properly communicated and reciprocated, should be able to be handled efficiently and effectively.

Orr highlighted her persistence as a key element of bringing proper attention to the issue, believing that if she hadn’t been so unwilling to back down, then “(Campus Safety) probably wouldn’t have called (anyone).”

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Nola Webb, Staff Writer
Economics & French Major from Charleston, SC
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