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Public Affairs

Campus still recovering from February storm

March 12, 2004

Photo of several portable dryers used in several of the buildings affected by the rainstormWhat a difference two weeks make. As the entire Bay Area -- even the notoriously foggy SFSU campus -- enjoys its first heat wave of 2004, the vicious storm that hit Feb. 25 seems but a distant memory to students soaking in the sun all around campus.

But the storm is not a distant memory for University staff and workers from Belfor, the independent contractor hired by SFSU to help clean and repair storm damage on campus.

Damage to campus buildings and fixtures are covered under SFSU's insurance plans. However, some damaged contents inside buildings are not covered, said Mike Martin, director of risk management.

Hensill Hall suffered the most damage by far. Mike Curran, customer service supervisor for Facilities and Service Enterprises, said the building had significant water intrusion during the storm and that a timeline for repairs is being developed.

The storm damaged cabinets, floors and ceilings and blew out windows to one room. In addition, the 12,000-volt switch gear located on the second floor became submerged in water. Workers are in the process of inspecting damage to the switch gear, and Hensill Hall is operating on electrical generators, according to Robert Hutson, associate vice president for facilities and service enterprises. The scope of the damage is still being determined, Martin said.

Cleanup and repairs in the Student Health Service, Library, Thornton Hall, Burk Hall, Lakeview Center and Administration, Fine Arts, Creative Arts and Humanities buildings are expected to be completed by today.

Photo of Belfor employee Joe Boldt preparing a dehumidifier for return to the companyThose buildings incurred minor damage and need replacement of sheet rock and carpets. Just after the storm passed, workers began to remove water between walls and replace the cove base, the linoleum-like material that is molded into the bottom edge between floors and walls.

The track at Cox Stadium was buried in water for several hours, leaving a dirty field and up to 6 inches of mud covering about one-third of the track and the jumping areas, track and field coach J.J. Johnson said. The team canceled several practices and its season-opening meet, Gator Preview, scheduled for Feb. 28. While the stadium was mostly restored to its normal condition by Feb. 29, a crew is still working on minor repairs.

The storm, one of the most intense to hit the region in years, also caused power outages in several campus buildings. All classes that began after 11 a.m. that day were canceled. Power was restored and priority cleanup was completed in time for classes to resume as scheduled the morning of Feb. 26.

"Everybody put forth a really strong effort to stabilize things right away," Curran said. "The shops and custodians all pitched in."

Reports of damage, power outages and water intrusion kept Curran's phone line busy the morning of the storm.

Barbara Nelson, director of Campus Support Services, was not only delighted by her staff's swift and enthusiastic response, but also by the eagerness of faculty and students to work side by side with her staff to sweep away water in many buildings.

"The storm was horrific, but reassuring of the wonderful community we have here," she said. "It was heartwarming to say the least."

For more on the storm, see photos and first-hand accounts provided by SFSU meteorology faculty.

-- Matt Itelson


San Francisco State University

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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications