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Monday, December 22, 2014

Cost of flood repairs pending

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By Sergio Jiménez / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Debris lay scattered outside the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building on Thursday. The UNM Physical Planning Department is still calculating the estimated cost of the damage to 50 buildings during the summer flooding.

Although details on how much damage was done by last week’s flooding are still being gathered, UNM’s Physical Plant Department is doing its best to find and fix campus-wide problems.

The next step for PPD according to Department Director Mary Vosevich is looking over the damages and determining the cost for insurance purposes to get the companies on campus to start making repairs.

“We have equipment that determines moisture in a wall, so they know exactly how high they need to go to cut out any drywall to do those repairs,” Vosevich said.

In the case of the libraries, materials were the top priority when it came to salvaging and restoring damaged items, she said.

“It’s an important mission, so we look at ourselves as a service organization obviously to support the mission of the university to allow them to do the education, learning, research, community service,” Vosevich said.

As for the cost of the damages from the flood, PPD is still working on an estimation.

Gary Smith, associate director for environmental services and maintenance at PPD, said invoices from the damaged areas on campus have not come in for the department yet, making an estimated cost unknown.

“We have started the repairs, but we have not received the cost for them yet,” Smith said.

UNM was hit last week with three inches of rain in a one-hour period, flooding 50 buildings on campus, he said.

“We’ll be doing repairs for a couple of months,” Smith said, “but classes will go on as scheduled.”

Smith said PPD is working hard to make improvements at Centennial Library, which has a history of problems with flooding.

“We are actively looking for areas on that deck — which is the roof of the library — which we can work on now, and patch and seal,” he said.

George Farr, manager of library operations at Centennial, said the library has had problems with leaks since he started working there as a student 25 years ago.

“One of the places it leaks heavily when it rains the worst is down in our map room,” Farr said. “We just moved a bunch of map cases out of there because the floor is going to need replacing from this last flood.”

The maps are going to remain out of harm’s way for now, he said. The map cases have been moved three different times for floods.

“Otherwise, we keep these map cases covered with plastic constantly,” Farr said.

However, UNM had more water move through doors and down stairwells than through leaky roofs, Smith said.

“The real issue with the amount of rain we got was it overwhelmed the drainage system here,” he said. “We couldn’t move any more water from campus than the city could take.”

The buildings that had drainage issues are being looked at individually, building by building, he said.

“I don’t think the state is built for that much rain at any time,” Smith said.

Stephen Montoya is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at culture@dailylobo.com or @StephenMontoya9.