JESúS A. RODRíGUEZ / Tejano Tribune
Campus employees from the janitorial staff sweep the water excess in the B building at the Valle Verde campus.
Juan C. Gutierrez & Jesús A. Rodríguez
As the rain inundated the city of El Paso on the night of Sept. 17, EPCC Valle Verde campus students walking out of classrooms were met with flowing water inside the B building and the Cafeteria Annex.
According to the EPCC Physical Plant managing director, the flooding at the Valle Verde B building was the fault of the students.
“That was caused by human error. The error was the students,” said Rick Torres.
“They see that the door that was already blocked off with sandbags,” Torres added. “[It was] blocked off with tape, they open up the door to get out of the building. So if you open up the door that’s blocked up and there’s water in the outside, what’s going to happen? You’re going to get water into the building.
“That’s human error by students.”
The hallways in the B building had approximately 4 to 5 inches of water running through them. Water was flowing in from one door on the eastern side of the facility
(A video about this incident can be found at youtube.com/tejanotribune).
“There’s no architectural fault. Actually, if you equivalent that amount of water, that’s over a 100-year rain water,” Torres said. “If you get five inches of water in four hours, is it an architectural design or common sense?
“We had the same problem back in 2006 or 2007. The thing is, we don’t get that much water here, even the whole city.”
Many students were still in class when the flooding inside the buildings occurred along with several blackouts.
“I don’t think EPCC is really equipped to handle small rivers running through its buildings,” said Janette Campos, EPCC student.
“It is so scary. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
According to Torres, measures are being taken to prevent this kind of incident.
“We are already addressing the problem,” Torres said, “We’ve done a couple of things. We’ve made additional pounding areas.
“All that water that’s coming to Valle Verde is just not the water from Valle Verde; it’s the water from Hunter and Phoenix.”
The Transmountain campus was also affected on Sept. 17. The campus delayed opening until 10 a.m. There was limited access to the facilities on Sept. 22, also due to the rain.
According to Torres, the Rio Grande and Northwest campuses experienced some roof leaks.
“This is insane,” said Brian Byrd, another EPCC student. “I think El Paso needs to fix the drainage system they have going on. I ride a motorcycle and I was definitely not prepared for this type of weather tonight.”
According to Torres, an estimated cost of the damage done by the flooding will be made by the end of the week.
“We have not made a [monetary] assessment yet, we are waiting to see how much of the damage we are going to be getting,” Torres said.