FAMU still recovering

Photo Credit | Larry Butler

For a category one, Hurricane Hermine sure walloped Tallahassee.  It has been 27 days since Hermine and major work crews are still out cutting up fallen trees, removing debris and repairing major damage.

Although Florida A&M University did not lose power from the storm, the campus is still not exempt from damage. 

The damage toll to facilities other than housing as a result of Hermine was $53,709 as of Sept. 27, according to Kendall Jones director of the FAMU physical plant. 

“We still have some trees that needs to be cut-up and removed.  There are trees down and fence damage at the president’s house,” Jones said.

Jones noted that the damage assessment figure of $53,709 is only for the damages being handled by the physical plant operations. 

According to FAMU maintenance supervisor Michael Lindsey, other damages noted to the campus by physical plant operations were a hood vent and shingles that were blown off of Coleman Library. 

FAMU had to hire a crane and a roofing crew to repair the damage done to the Coleman Library as a result of the storm. 

“There was no other way to get onto the roof, other than by crane,” Lindsey said.

FAMU superintendent of maintenance Julius Gay said the crane cost the university about $300 an hour

“To rent the crane cost the university about $300.00 per hour,” Julius Gay, Superintendent of Maintenance for FAMU said.

Gay went on to say as far as damage to the interior of the library is concern, only a few ceiling tiles were damaged.

“There’s a lot of damage all over campus: trees, lights, vents; good thing our utilities is underground, so we didn’t lose any power,” Gay said.

The housing side of the spectrum paints a much bleaker picture.  James Williams, senior maintenance superintendent for FAMU housing, said damage cost university housing more than $15,000.

The roof of FAMU Village tore off in a couple of sections leaving an estimated damage of $20,000.  The front entry doors on the east and west sides had broken glass, damage to the door closure mechanism and hinge damage, estimating $1,000 in damages. There’s also water damage in a few rooms.

There is major roof damage in Paddyfote – buildings A, B, C and D.  There is a lot of room damage from water intrusion, and to repair the roofs is estimated at around $25,000 for each building.  If the university decides to just patch the roofs, then the estimate is around $6,000 per building in the Paddyfote complex, Williams added.

Truth Hall had windows blown out, the estimated cost of repairs coming to $600.

Gibbs Hall had substantial flooding in the basement, to where the maintenance crew had to use pumps and sandbags to combat the flooding.  There also was leaking and water intrusion around windows and the roof.

Because Gibbs Hall has a Terracotta Slate roof, to replace it is estimated at a whopping $650,000, Williams continued.

Samson Hall had water intrusion is some of the rooms, with low damage.

Palmetto South and Phase 3 had shingles blown off the roof, with very little water damage, Williams finally concluded.

Both Jones and Williams had to mention a very special note and thank you to their maintenance staffs. 

“I am extremely proud of my team.  In spite of their own personal issues with the storm, they still showed up to address all of the concerns related to the storm which allowed to be ready to receive students upon re-opening,” Jones said.

Williams said they stayed at the Palmetto North Housing facility during the storm to put out generators for emergency power to all of the resident directors offices in all campus housing facilities. 

“Four guys from our maintenance crew stayed on duty around the clock from Thursday, 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. Saturday,” Williams said.