Editor’s Note: This article contains an updated quote from PLNU’s Solution Center regarding the number of work orders filed on Jan. 22. The Point was not able to add this information until after the article was published in our print edition.
Record-breaking rainfall hit Point Loma Nazarene University and the surrounding areas causing inconveniences and water intrusions on Jan. 23.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the substantial amount of rainfall experienced made it “the fourth wettest day on record (since 1850).”
At 11:13 a.m., PLNU Public Safety sent out an Emergency Alert that notified staff and students about flooding on Lomaland and Catalina.
Public Safety recommended that “low clearance cars” use an “alternate route” when arriving on campus due to the high water pooling on the lower half of Lomaland.
With Lomaland being the only street on which people can enter and exit the campus, drivers were forced through the neighboring streets that connect to Catalina and the upper half of Lomaland.
Fourth-year business marketing major Mariano Crivello is a commuter and said that “because of the rain, the driving conditions to school were harder. There were a lot of puddles and I experienced a lot of low traction.”
According to Associate Vice President of Facility Operations and Campus Planning Dan Toro, it is the city’s jurisdiction to respond to this flood.
“We are sitting on ninety acres of coastline that we are responsible for,” said Toro. “We rely on the city to have their spaces cleared and their sewer and storm lines clear because all of our stuff runs to their line.”
Flooding also occurred in the surrounding areas including but not limited to Balboa Park, Coronado and Chula Vista.
Soon after this Emergency Alert at 11:40 a.m., Toro sent out an email asking students to report “visible indicators of water intrusion” such as “leaks, wet ceiling tiles, wet carpet [and] flooding at entry/exit doors.”
According to Toro’s email, “water intrusion [had] been reported throughout various buildings across PLNU regional campuses.”
Upon request for records of the various work orders filed, PLNU Solution Center’s Marla Manasan said “Facilities attended to 26 storm-related work orders on Monday, Jan. 22. This number does not account for storm-related phone calls or emails received by our teams, but unfortunately we do not track call/email data.”
Following a storm of extreme size, Toro said they follow a “standard operating procedure” which includes inspecting areas where they typically see water pooling or checking on roofs where they “know that maybe those roofs are nearing the end of their lifecycle.”
According to Toro, they plan to replace the Ryan Library, Flex 41 and Flex 45 roofing over the summer of 2024 “mainly because those roofs are 20 years old.”
“We operate within really tight windows to be able to do what we need to do so that we aren’t inconveniencing students because essentially this is their home,” said Toro. “We don’t want to invade their space and disrupt their lives, so there is only the summer where we get to do these big jobs.”
Residents of second-floor flex apartments 45H, 45F, 45E, 41F, 41H and 41E all said that they hadn’t experienced any leaking as of Tuesday, Jan 23.
Regarding current steps to fulfilling work orders placed, PLNU is now hiring third-party contractors to dry out any remaining water and “replace areas that need replacing.” The maintenance team is also doing testing for mold in areas that experienced water damage.
According to Toro, the maintenance team expects rainfall in the coming two weeks that is worse than what was experienced on Monday, Jan. 22.
In light of this, Toro said they are working on preventative maintenance such as “making sure drain lines are clear outside of buildings.” As well as, “looking at gutters” and “going back to the problem areas and making sure the patches are clean, they are holding, they’ve cured and that we’ve done everything we can do at that point.”
Toro said he hopes that the collective staff and student body will help hint and alert the maintenance team as to what areas are experiencing issues and what needs to be fixed.
“We don’t know what we don’t know until you tell us,” said Toro.
To contact PLNU facilities and/or submit a work order, visit https://www.pointloma.edu/offices/campus-facilities.