University Courtyard tenants were ordered to vacate several buildings Jan. 20 after freezing weather caused water pipes to break. Extensive repairs are required for at least nine rooms with no final costs available yet.

    Broken water pipes, the result of freezing weather, are being blamed for damage to two buildings at the University Courtyard Apartments, which house students attending Delaware State University.

    City inspectors since have allowed students to return to their apartments following repairs and inspections.

    “The pipes burst on the upper level floors and seeped down,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Paul Bryant. “These were major pipes, so you’re talking a lot of water. It leeched down and saturated a lot of rooms.”

    City of Dover building inspectors quickly shut down the two buildings, declaring them unfit for human habitation.

    “On Jan. 20, it was ordered that the tenants of Courtyard Apartment buildings 5 and 7 on College Road vacate due to several public safety issues that were uncovered by both Delaware State University and city of Dover officials,” said city of Dover Public Affairs Coordinator Kay Sass in an email.

    The buildings were reopened Jan. 29 after a review by city inspectors and the fire marshal, Sass added.

    “Our primary concern was that the buildings would be safe for the tenants to return back to their homes,” Sass said.

    Fifty-five students were moved from the apartments into dormitory rooms on the DSU campus proper, said university spokesman Carlos Holmes. The apartment complex, which is owned and managed by DSU, is home to upperclassmen at the school, he said.

    The university does not yet have a final figure on the costs of fixing the damage, Holmes said.

    Although not every room was damaged, there were at least nine that required extensive repairs, including electrical work and structural improvements, Bryant said.

    The students occupy separate rooms in a suite arrangement that includes common areas in each apartment. If one of the individual rooms is damaged, all must vacate the suite, he said.

    Students have been told to submit insurance claims to mitigate damage to personal items, Bryant said.

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