Remaining Bayou Oaks residents cleared for return
Hurricane Harvey has run its course, but some students are only now getting their lives back to normal. The remaining displaced Bayou Oaks residents, who were evacuated during the storm due to flooding in the building, were cleared to move back in Thursday.
During the storm, some parts of the building — located along the bank of Brays Bayou — flooded up to residents calves, said computer information systems junior Ricky Bravo. The flooding caused damage to walls, flooring and the property of some residents.
“A voluntary evacuation was announced over the PA system the night before the flooding really started,” said physics and math sophomore Débora Mroczek in an email. “Later that night, they announced a mandatory evacuation for first floor residents as a precaution.”
Around 9:30 a.m Aug. 27, they announced that the water was starting to come inside the main building, and they made the decision to evacuate all residents, according to previous coverage by the Cougar.
“UH transported everyone from Bayou to the Quads, and told them to pack up their essentials,” Bravo said. “It was difficult because we did not know how long we were going to be staying.”
According to coverage by Cougar, UH made accommodations to these students, and dining halls remained open on campus.
“It happened very quickly,” Mroczek said. “I would say they got everyone out in about an hour.”
UH spokesperson Mike Rosen said that Bayou Oaks students who had been relocated to the Quads were not charged for the temporary housing or dining.
Due to its proximity to Brays Bayou, Bayou Oaks was the only UH-owned residential building to experience flooding. Bravo said the worst of the damage occurred in townhouses 9 through 15.
The University began the recovery at Bayou Oaks once the storm passed.
Air quality tests were conducted through UH Planning and Facilities last week to ensure mold hasn’t developed and that the air is clean for students.
“Work continues to be ongoing and is expected for several more weeks,” said Executive Director of Student Housing and Residential Life Don Yackley.
Rosen said most Bayou Oaks residents were able to return on Sept. 4 and all Bayou Oaks students were able to return by Sept. 7, and that UH Environmental Health and Safety claimed the air quality tests returned positive for clean air.
Townhouses 9 through 13, and 15, are still undergoing repairs to the ground floor common areas and residential units, but students are allowed to access the second and third floor, Rosen said.
“We couldn’t go back for a whole week,” said Mroczek. “All I could think of was my bed and how much I wanted it back.”