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Drainage issue termed ‘Lake Dillon’ fixed by University

This semester, the office of facilities and design repaired the section between South Dining Hall and Dillon Hall, commonly known as “Lake Dillon.” 

During heavy rain, the area would cause flooding which made it difficult for students to go across the area between the entrance of Dillon Hall and the exit of South Dining Hall.

“When [Lake Dillon] would flood, it would practically fill that entire sidewalk area,” Derick Williams, a sophomore and Keough Hall senator, explained. “It would become this little pond that would form, and everyone would have to walk completely around past other dorms, or they would just kind of brave the water and walk through.” 

The flood posed a greater danger to people with mobility issues and individuals who ride on bikes and scooters, Hunter Brooke said. “For certain groups, I think, it was especially a hazard, especially those with mobility issues, [and] those who have trouble getting around. And the last thing we wanted to see was someone slip and fall and hurt themselves,” Brooke, a sophomore and Carroll Hall senator, said.

Both senators explained how the improvements make the university more inclusive for everyone. “We really tried to make sure we’re not forgetting anyone and we’re not leaving anyone out,” Brooke said. “It’s just a continual process of making sure everyone has a good opportunity to enjoy their time here.”

Brooke and Williams worked closely on the issue once they were elected as hall senators last year, after much discussion regarding Lake Dillon.

“For me, it was huge,” Williams said. “It’s definitely something that continually got brought up to me by people that live in Keough.”

The sophomores spoke with Anthony Polotto, director of construction and quality assurance at the University. “I think one of the biggest things that we can take away is to say that Anthony and his crew over in the construction world for the University are very receptive to students,” Williams said.

The issue regarding the flooding was the lack of drainage structure. As Polotto said, “After hard rains, we discovered that we lacked some drainage structures to be able to effectively remove the water when we did have hard rains, instead of just letting the ground beside it soak it up.” 

To repair the issue, Polotto explained, construction installed catch basins tied to the sewer, “to make sure that when it does rain that we can collect the water and divert it away from the site.” 

Originally, repairs would have been finished before the start of fall break, but the deadline was pushed back to the end of fall break. “We have to identify resources,” Polotto said. “So there’s a little bit of planning and then you have to do the design work to understand what needs to happen.” 

In addition, the price of procurement deliveries has increased. “Right now we have to order material and material procurement deliveries are triple, quadruple, what they were a year ago with the current market,” Polotto said. “But there was a full commitment to get it done as quickly as possible.” 

Brooke and Williams sponsored Senate Resolution SS2223-08, cosponsored by Pangborn Luca Ripani thanking the Office of Facilities Design and Operations for the work they did. The resolution passed unanimously. “This was, I’d say, pretty solid unanimous,” Brooke said. 

A complication both senators had to procure was coordination with the student government.

“There’s so many different branches, there’s so many people and there’s also much of the university,” Williams said. “The University has so many different departments, so many different administrators, that it’s hard to identify who in the university handles what issue.”

But motivation came from the short time they will spend in the university. “We only have four years to make an impact,” Williams said. “[Student government] is so big,” Brooke said. “So sometimes it can be hard to reach people. And there’s so many organizations to it. So what we’re trying to do is just bring people together so that we can get a lot of people who kind of work hard on stuff like this in one room.”

Nonetheless, the senators sat they are thankful for the work that student government did to repair the flooding.

“We are very thankful for everyone in student government,” Brooke said. “Everyone in student government really understands or really wants to try and help students and improve conditions for the student body.” 

Constructions on the flooding have already finished and the only issue remaining is dressing up landscapes, which are expected to be completed before fall break. 

You can contact Sam Godinez at sgodinez@nd.edu.