South Village Update
Dear parents/families of the residents of South Village,
As you may be aware, the students living in South Village Residential Suites have experienced greater than normal forced evacuations of the buildings. I sincerely apologize for the inconveniences these may have caused your student and any worry or anxiety they may have caused you and your family. I want to take this opportunity to update you on the causes for the alarms and inform you about our next steps. But most importantly, please know that the safety of our residents has been, and will continue to be, outmost importance to us.
There are often issues that emerge in year one of any new high occupancy building. Rest assured that our alarm systems have never failed to function properly. Each alarm has appropriately forced the evacuation of the building until housing staff could assure the safety of all residents. In each circumstance, other buildings on campus were immediately opened to students so they had a warm and safe place to stay while we awaited clearance from emergency response teams. However, the alarms and necessary evacuation of the buildings has occurred more frequently than expected. There are multiple reasons responsible for this frequency.
1. We plan 4 fire drills annually, two each semester, in compliance with the University’s safety regulations and we make a concerted effort to schedule drills at times when students are least likely to be inconvenienced.
2. 7 fire alarms have been activated by students over-heating items in microwaves, creating a smoke density sufficient enough to activate the hard wired smoke detector in the room, which in turn triggered the building alarm. We are working diligently with our residence hall staff to educate students on ways they can help us reduce alarms and evacuations caused by accidental student behavior.
3. This year we evacuated the suites on 4 occasions due to unforeseeable utility issues triggered by the extreme winter conditions. When possible, we make every effort to address facility and utility issues with minimal disruption and inconvenience to our students in residence, and the staff working in the building. We have taken measures to adapt to these extreme conditions and are confident that the frequency of future alarms and evacuations will be reduced to a normal rate.
Our mission to cultivate a supportive living and learning environment has not changed. However, when an issue poses a risk to the health and safety of our residents in the environment, we act judiciously on the side of health and human safety. We are proactively exploring options to further decrease the inconvenience to our resident students as we move forward with this building project. The University, the contractor, and groups of technical experts are examining the issues identified, and will implement remedies. We are keeping our students informed of events in a timely manner via e-mail and hall meetings. And all appropriate levels of University administration are proactively engaged to ensure that we provide the safest and lease disruptive environment for our students.
I know your student has been inconvenienced, likely on more than one occasion, because of these alarms and evacuations. I apologize for this and assure you that we will continue to work to mitigate these in the future. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the issues with South Village Suites. Again, please know that the safety of our students is of our utmost importance.
The Department of Housing and Residential Programs at Millersville University is committed to designing and maintaining a supportive community environment that enhances the academic, personal and social development of residential students.
Furthermore, the Department pledges to foster inclusive communities that promote individual respect, civility, equality, and encourage responsibility to one's community.
Housing & Residential Programs
P.O. Box 1002
Millersville, PA 17551
Phone: (717) 872-3162
Fax: (717) 871-2358