Several buildings were damaged last week as the University was hit with flooding from post-tropical cyclone Ida.
The Sept. 2 deluge damaged areas of the University’s television studio, located in Fahy Hall, and the Richie Regan Recreation Center. There was no immediate cost estimate of damages, according to Assistant Vice President of Facilities John Signorello.
The lower levels of the Recreation Center were affected by floodwaters, Signorello said. Students are currently restricted from entering the Center’s locker rooms, which are closed until further notice, according to a sign posted in the building’s main staircase.
Damage to the TV studio was limited to several set pieces and props used by students while filming, according to Visual and Sound Media Professor Thomas Rondinella. While no cameras or pieces of technical equipment were affected, the studio has been temporarily shut down to assist with cleaning and disposal efforts. Classes have also been moved out of the studio for this week.
For two faculty members, the flooding and cleanup was a familiar sight – past catastrophic rain events resulted in similar damage to the facility.
According to Communications professor William Pace, an outside drain that malfunctioned in the past was clogged due to the extreme downpour, causing water to flow through the studio’s back doors. The drain was thought to have been fixed after the previous flooding and was working well before Ida.
The loss of film sets and props, meanwhile, was a blow to some students who had constructed and used them in years past.
“I know the sets and props were the most damaged, and luckily the technical equipment was okay,” fourth-year Visual and Sound Media major Michael Grennan said. “It is sad to see the sets be ruined, though, because of all the fun memories I have in that studio. Even though they weren’t the best sets, they were a lot of fun to put up and film with.”
For Pirate TV Creative Director Benjamin Harris, however, losing only studio sets and props was the best outcome as water filled the studio.
“Of course, it’s upsetting to have an event like this happen, but all things said, it was better having a few walls and set pieces damaged rather than computers and other technical equipment,” Harris said. Renovations to the TV studio have been in the works for the past few years, Harris said, and clearing away old sets and props may help facilitate the project.
On the night of the flood, producers who were meeting in the studio were able to prevent damage to crucial equipment even as the room filled with 8-10 inches of water, according to Christian Gardner, Pirate TV’s executive producer. Gardner said his crew put down sandbags and evacuated the studio floor as floodwaters seeped through the doors.
Despite the flood, Gardner is optimistic about operations going forward. Working technical equipment means that students will be able to shoot and produce as soon as next week.
“We weren't planning on returning in-studio until Sept. 13, so fortunately enough it didn't derail any plans outside of where we hosted our interest meetings,” Gardner said. “Overall, the biggest setback was the loss of certain set pieces, but students will be back in the studio as usual next week.”
Jarrett Dang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.