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Cabot House Dining Hall Floods, Forming ‘Second Aquarium’

20,000 Leagues Under the Dhall
The Cabot dinining hall flooded Tuesday amidst heavy rain. Dining service was temporarily suspended.
The Cabot House Dining Hall flooded during heavy rains Tuesday morning, swapping students for caution tape during lunch and dinner.

Though the dining hall was filled with standing water — which caused food service in the House to be cancelled — by 4:30 p.m., Cabot was already on the mend.

Cabot Faculty Dean Stephanie R. Khurana wrote in an emailed statement, “Our facilities team is working hard to mitigate the water issues from the intense rain this afternoon. We expect to return to normal dining service operations for breakfast tomorrow. We appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility.”

With all doors propped open and fans and dehumidifiers running full blast, workers from ATI Restoration spent much of the day cleaning Cabot’s dining hall to resume normal operations.

“With the amount of rainfall that came down this morning, you had an abundance of water flow through the window sills and through the foundation into the floor,” restoration worker Jeffrey R. Gelinas said.

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Gelinas said the workers needed to extract standing water, disinfect the dining hall, install temporary dehumidifiers and air removers to “remove all relative humidity out of all materials in the building affected.”

Gelinas predicted that the dining hall’s full restoration would be complete slightly after Wednesday’s breakfast. He said he anticipated that the space should be back to normal by Thursday or Friday.

Some students said they were caught off guard by the flooding announcement.

“I was super shocked to see how extensive it was,” Lydia Pan ’21 said. “We got an email sent out over the Cabot list with a picture of water just covering the floor.”

Luckily for Cabot residents, Pforzheimer Dining Hall and Currier Dining Hall are only a few paces away. At lunch on Tuesday, Cabot students were redirected to Pforzheimer, and Harvard University Dining Services staff were temporarily reassigned to other Quad dining halls.

James Cababa, a chef at Pforzheimer and Cabot, said that the other two Quad Houses were prepared for the influx of students. He predicted that most students would head to Currier, since its entrance is closer to Cabot.

“We are preparing the high quality food that we do all the time,” he said. “We sent some of our employees over [to Currier] just to help out, just to make sure the students are taken care of.”

Despite the inconveniences of the flooding, multiple Quad students expressed support for Cabot House and satisfaction with how the situation is being handled.

“Luckily, a lot of us already eat lunch at our sister house, Lowell,” Emily J. Rios ’21 said. “I have found that the Quad has a tight knit community and that if I go to another Quad d-hall, I am bound to see someone I know.”

Debolina Ghosh ’21 added that Cabot’s Sophomore Dinner Tuesday evening was unaffected by the dining hall’s inaccessibility.

Basil M. Baccouche ’20 tried to look on the bright side of Cabot’s flooded dining hall.

“It could be worse,” he said. “I could live in a River House.”

—Staff writer Iris M. Lewis can be reached at iris.lewis@thecrimson.com.

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