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Howard University residence halls without heat, hot water as classes set to begin Monday

Howard University residence halls without heat, hot water as classes set to begin Monday (ABC7)

Howard University is asking students not to come back from winter break until Sunday because some of its dorms have no heat. But for some students, it’s already too late.

"I couldn't sleep through the night because it was freezing cold,” said Rachel Edler, who came back to her dorm on Tuesday.

The heating issues come just as D.C. is in the midst of one of its coldest stretches in years.

The university says it is having issues with boilers and ruptured steam pipes, and as a result, some dorms may be cold through the weekend.

The first day of classes for the spring semester is Monday, and the university is asking students not to return until Sunday at noon at the earliest.

Some students are already on the way back, and others, such as student-athletes, have already returned.

The lucky ones have heat. The unlucky ones say their dorms are miserable places to be.

"I wore a hoodie and two pairs of pants to sleep,” said student Adia Starnes. “And then I went to go take a shower today -- couldn't do it, it was just too cold."

Howard says it will “accommodate students who return prior to Sunday at noon.”

Although the dorms will stay open, Howard says due to the problems its campus will be closed Thursday and Friday.

On Wednesday night, crews worked in and around the university’s power plant to try to fix the problems. Steam could be seen rising out of the ground throughout the 6th Street portion of the campus.

Kenneth Holmes, the vice president of Student Affairs, sent out the following letter to students in regard to the heating issues:

"Dear Students:
Please be advised that due to the extreme cold temperatures and projected winter storms across the nation, the University closed at 3 pm today, and will remain closed on Thurs, Jan. 4 and Fri, Jan. 5. We are experiencing boiler issues and ruptured steam pipes across many buildings which are in the process of being repaired.
In order to ensure that student residents return to comfortable, heated residence halls, we are asking all students to delay their arrival to campus until noon or later, Sun. Jan. 7. Please be advised that temperatures in the residence halls will be cold through the weekend until the necessary repairs have been completed.
We understand that many of you may already be en route to campus or are unable to make alternative arrangements for arrival times to campus. The residence halls will be open and the Residence Life staff will be on site to accommodate students who return prior to Sunday at noon.
If you have any questions please contact your Resident Hall Manager directly or the Residence Life main office at 202-806-6131. This office will be open Monday-Friday during normal business hours to serve you.
Thank you in advance for your flexibility and cooperation as we work diligently to serve you."

Classes for the spring semester are set to start on Monday, January 8.

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