Archive for Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Damage at KU about $6M

March 14, 2006

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It is back to business for Kansas University today, but some campus areas will be closed as crews continue a cleanup expected to take months and cost more than $6 million.

"Campus is safe," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "There's no question about being safe."

KU officials said 60 percent of KU's roughly 100 buildings were damaged in some way by the storm that slammed Lawrence on Sunday.

The one building that will be entirely closed until further notice is Danforth Chapel, which suffered extensive roof damage. Entrances to Snow and Fraser halls will be partially restricted today, and athletic courts on the west side of Robinson Center will be closed today.

The physical damage accounts for the bulk of the estimated cleanup costs about $4 million said Paul Carttar, executive vice chancellor for external affairs.

But, Carttar said, the university also must cover costs for overtime paid to public safety officers and others who worked in the storm's aftermath, along with food or research materials spoiled while the power was out.

KU will look to state and federal resources and private donors to help pay for the cleanup, Hemenway said.

Tour of the damage


A student passes by Danforth Chapel on the KU campus after taking a photograph of the building damaged in SundayÃs storm.

A student passes by Danforth Chapel on the KU campus after taking a photograph of the building damaged in SundayÃs storm.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius joined Hemenway and others Monday in a helicopter flyover of the Lawrence area and KU campus to view the damage.

"Our biggest need is going to be roof repair," Hemenway said.

KU Endowment has also set up a Campus Storm Recovery fund.

Hemenway said cleanup estimates were just that - estimates.

"That's a kind of ballpark figure right now," he said. "It could be higher. It could be less than that. The problem is you never know what you're going to get into."

High winds broke windows, tore off rooftops and sent foam-like insulation and broken glass raining on some parts of campus. It uprooted trees, tore others in half or splintered tree limbs.

But KU officials called in all facilities and operations workers quickly after the storm hit Sunday, and by Monday much of the debris that had littered lawns and walkways was cleared.

"All in all, the cleanup is moving along," Vice Provost Jim Long said.

He said some repairs would be completed today, but other projects - such as repairing the roof of Danforth Chapel - would take longer. For more intensive repairs, crews will make temporary fixes before making permanent ones, he said.


Jeff Severin, environmental stewardship manager at KU, picks up pieces of trash and Styrofoam near the Chancellors residence on the KU campus.

Jeff Severin, environmental stewardship manager at KU, picks up pieces of trash and Styrofoam near the Chancellors residence on the KU campus.

"We want to remain as dry as possible with the weather," Long said.

Long-term projects could take months, he said.

Extraordinary efforts

Hemenway commended KU employees' response and cleanup efforts.

"I think it's extraordinary what we've been able to accomplish in the 48 hours or so since the event," he said.

Access to Snow Hall will be restricted to an entrance off Poplar Lane. Fraser Hall's east entrance will be closed, officials said, because gutters are filled with debris.

Yellow tape kept pedestrians away from several buildings Monday, including Snow and Marvin halls, where workers were repairing the roofs.

Marvin Wiedeman, a KU employee who was among those helping clean up, said crews would do what it took to put the campus back in order.


A KU employee views damaged tiles on the roof of Stauffer-Flint Hall on the KU campus. Because of the threat of damaged tiles falling off the roof classes were cancelled Monday.

A KU employee views damaged tiles on the roof of Stauffer-Flint Hall on the KU campus. Because of the threat of damaged tiles falling off the roof classes were cancelled Monday.

"If we have to work late, we'll work late," Wiedeman said.

Jayhawk Boulevard, usually the setting for a sea of students headed in all directions, was relatively quiet and empty.

"I've had one customer here today," Lea Salvo, a KU junior who was working the counter of Pulse, the coffee counter inside Wescoe Hall, said early Monday.

Aside from work crews, only the occasional jogger or curious student checking out the damage could be seen along Jayhawk Boulevard.

"I didn't know it was as bad as it was," said Katie Savute, a sophomore who explored some parts of campus.

The storm canceled class in the final week before Spring Break. That means some midterm tests were delayed or postponed.

Burst of destruction

Burst of destruction

"A lot of people's midterms got canceled, so that's good," sophomore Alicia Floberg said.

Students Joe Grassmuck and Nick Strain spent the day off hitting the books.

"Even though class is canceled, we still have stuff to do," said Grassmuck, an engineering student. "Engineering never stops. There's always stuff to keep you busy."

March 12, 2006, Storm

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  • Comments

    Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 1 month ago

    LD, don't forget that the State's "sunshine laws" do allow you to peruse their estimates. Request a copy of their estimates under the Kansas Open Records Act. Jane Rosenthal in the Provost's office is the KORA official to contact. You can get the doc on CD for $0.39. Peruse away, and challenge any estimates you find excessive. I'll be watching these pages for your findings.

    Also, KU doesn't lack insurance. The State self-insures. It's a different animal than "lacking" insurance.

    lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

    well wilbur, i am hoping for an article about it in the JW. yes, the state self-insures which means KU doesn't have insurance because the taxpayers will pay for the losses. in essence we are the insurance company.

    i am suspect of the number because the figure was thrown out to us so quickly.

    just looking at it with an open mind. too bad most people don't question anything.

    Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 1 month ago

    "...a number pulled out of the air."

    "why doesn't KU just say they need more money like they always do?"

    That doesn't sound very open-minded or questioning to me. It sounds like you jumped to conclusions, based on previously held opinions but without gathering facts. I support your skepticism wholeheartedly. However, a more positive outlet for your skepticism would be to pursue the methodology for calculating those numbers rather than "hoping for an article."

    If you are concerned that self-insurance is inappropriate for State properties, that is an issue your legislators can change. It makes no sense to try to cast blame on the agency (KU) that has no choice in the matter. I know I have told both my Senator and my Representative in person exactly how they lost my votes. The essence was, "I generally like how you vote, but you can't get those other 163 people to make good policy, so I'm going to try to find someone who can." It may not work, but it can't be any worse than it is with them in their. And something has to change.

    avhjmlk 9 years, 1 month ago

    It's not the university's fault that insurance doesn't cover the damage. That's based on the state's insurance policy.

    lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

    $6 Million.....a number pulled out of the air.

    i find it hard to believe the numbers on KU's campus. an itemized list is in order for a public perusal. why doesn't KU just say they need more money like they always do?

    is this how KU makes lemonade from lemons?

    isn't the damage at KU higher than the entire city of lawrence? too bad KU doesn't carry insurance -(based on their lack of insurance when Hoch Auditorium burned down).

    yourworstnightmare 9 years, 1 month ago

    I agree that KU often makes poor decisions, but your animosity toward the institution is puzzling.

    Without KU, the economy of Lawrence would be like that of Great Bend or Colby. KU makes Lawrence what it is; without it, Lawrence would be just another sh*t-hole little Kansas town.

    Quit yer bitchin'.

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