Sophomore mechanical engineering student J Wesley Chow brushes his teeth inside one of the hotel rooms provided by the university for students displaced by the flood. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)

CU houses students in hotels after Boulder flood damaged their homes

Some CU students have been relocated to Boulder hotels after the flood left them without textbooks and homes.

Sophomore mechanical engineering student J Wesley Chow brushes his teeth inside one of the hotel rooms provided by the university for students displaced by the flood. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)
Sophomore mechanical engineering student J Wesley Chow brushes his teeth inside one of the hotel rooms provided by the university for students displaced by the flood. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)

Sixty-five students are currently living in two local hotels after their off-campus homes were damaged in the flash floods, said Greg Swenson, CU’s student communications program manager.

“Everybody on campus, their living arrangements are all set,” Swenson said. “When students leave will be determined on an individual basis. We will check in with students and see what their needs are. Hopefully we will get people placed back into the community. Some units were hit harder than others.”

CU declined to identify which hotels the students were being housed in, but 21-year-old communications major Rob Ankarlo said he has been staying in a room at the Boulder University Inn for several days.

“I have been here since Thursday night of last week, and I will be here until the 30th,” Ankarlo said.

Unfortunately for Ankarlo, the repairs on his house will take longer than the amount of time the university can keep him in the hotel. “I will probably end up going to Wheat Ridge because my house won’t be ready.”

Ankarlo is one of about 185 students who requested a meal card from CU after the flood. Nearly 120 students asked the university for assistance replacing damaged textbooks, according to Swenson.

“Getting to school is not too hard, but to be honest, I haven’t cared too much about school,” Ankarlo said. “I haven’t been focused, and my books got washed away as well. We had over three feet of sewage, and my bed floated away. They are replacing the tile, the shower, carpet, all the dry wall in the basement, cabinets, the sink, the washer and dryer, the hot water heater, the regular house heater  pretty much everything.”

Swenson recommends students that were affected be flood contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“If they haven’t contacted FEMA yet, it’s very important that they contact them because they can help them with lost property, if they have damage,” Swenson said. “We have resources on campus we would like students to take advantage of. Be sure to check your emails.”

Resources around campus include FEMA, the Office of Victim Assistance and counseling and psychological services.

Satinder Bedi, another evacuee currently living University Inn, contacted the Office of Victim Assistance after the flood.

Junior communications student Matt Gleason eats dinner Monday night in his hotel room. Matt is one of many students displaced by the recent flooding, and housed in by the university in local hotels. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)
Junior communications student Matt Gleason eats dinner Monday night in his hotel room. Matt is one of many students displaced by the recent flooding, and housed by the university in local hotels. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)

“My dog started barking, and I woke up in the middle of the night and I could hear water running somewhere,” said Bedi, a 24-year-old philosophy major. “There was water shooting in through the windows. I pulled all the sheets off my bed. The university only gave me a week of emergency housing.”

When students are transitioned back into the community depends on the degree of damage their home took, according to Swenson.

Derick Lee, a 25-year-old history major, didn’t have a house yet in Boulder when the thunder storms hit.

“I got here [to Boulder] late and was looking for a place, but it’s kind of a good thing I didn’t make an investment,” Lee said. “I was right next to the creek when it was getting hazardous. I was trudging through roads that became rivers.”

He tried to book a room at the University Inn during the flash flood but ultimately had to depend on a kind stranger to provide shelter.

“I was here and the operator was overwhelmed constantly,” Lee said. “Calls were coming in constantly. I took refuge at the operator’s place because everything was already booked and his place was in a safer place.”

Swenson said that the the costs of housing students in hotels, providing meal cards and replacing textbooks are not available yet.

“We don’t have any figures on that,” he said. “They will have to tally that up.”

 Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mary-Lynn Elliott at Marylynn.elliott@colorado.edu. twitter.com/@Mayelliott

About Mary-Lynn Elliott

Mary-Lynn Elliott is a sophomore at the University of Colorado preparing to study journalism. Many would know her as May. In her free time, she writes, sings, draws and drinks coffee. She is obsessed with New York City and hopes to be a columnist and comedian one day. Contact Staff Writer Mary-Lynn Elliott at marylynn.elliott@colorado.edu, twitter.com/@Mayelliott_

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