Warming temperatures and melting ice revealed new problems and new work for Facilities Management last weekend, besides the clearing of sidewalks, parking lots and external building features of ice and snow.
Building service technicians as well as other Facilities Management personnel spent their weekend Saturday and Sunday assessing water damage from the snow and heavy rain that damaged approximately 22 buildings on campus.
Primarily ceiling tiles and the floors and carpets of buildings were damaged when ice, which had gotten under the roofs of these buildings, began to melt. Some of this water pooled harmlessly in buildings, but in other cases it left far more extensive damage, rendering the third floor of the Curris Center closed at the beginning of the week.
David Burdette, interim chief officer of Facilities Management, said in some ways the University was fortunate it received only the damage it did. He said ice freezing beneath buildings’ roofs is not uncommon and, depending on the path the melting water follows, could have amounted to more extensive damage.
Burdette said the Curris Center was initially recognized as the most extensively damaged building although Facilities Management’s assessment of the total damage to the campus continued throughout the week.
“We’re going through each of the buildings and documenting,” he said. “We’re documenting for two reasons: one, we have the opportunity for some FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recovery, so we’re trying to go that route, and then insurance reimbursement if FEMA doesn’t work.”
The damage to Murray State from the winter storm, once calculated, will be compiled with the total damages to Calloway County and those of other affected counties around the state.
If these damage’s amount is not significant enough to warrant federal reparations, Murray State will have to rely on its insurance from general liability damages to pay for any repairs.
Burdette said he was not sure when the Curris Center’s third floor will reopen, but said on Monday his teams were already replacing damaged ceiling tiles and cleaning up water spots left behind by the inclement weather.
“I can’t compliment the Facilities Management staff enough,” he said. “Everybody just pitched in. From the snow storm of a week ago to the rains of Saturday and Sunday, everybody pitched in and got it done.”
Story by Ben Manhanke, Chief Videographer