The ice, snow and record low temperatures have given way to sunshine and temperatures hovering near 80 degrees, but the effects of Winter Storm Uri are still being felt at Texas Woman’s and across the state.
Though TWU’s Houston campus was closed Feb. 22 due to a boil water notice in that city, neither it nor the Dallas campus received any damage from the storm. Still, activities at all three campuses were canceled due to the storm.
On the Denton campus, eight buildings received some damage, with Hubbard Hall, CFO and the Visual Arts Building faring the worst.
“Most if not all of the damage was the result of breaks in the domestic water, HVAC and fire suppression systems that resulted in flooding,” said Matt Moustakas, executive director of Risk Management. He said TWU’s Facilities Management & Construction and various contractors are working to repair the broken systems and clean up the impacted areas, but their efforts have been hampered by the extent of the storm.
“We have contractors literally driving from supplier to supplier hoping to find the parts we need,” he said. “In addition, some of the flooding was extensive and it will take time to dry out, or in the worst cases, building materials such as flooring and drywall may need to be replaced.”
Moustakas listed repairs to the residence halls as the first priority, followed by buildings with large classroom spaces (Hubbard Hall and CFO), then the other buildings. However, he noted, “we may not always follow this priority order, as some lower-priority buildings might have an easy fix while others are still waiting on parts.”
Because of all these factors, he said, “we don’t have a good idea when each building that is currently closed will be able to reopen.”
Work being done on each of the affected buildings includes:
- Administration Conference Tower (ACT) — Working to repair sprinkler and HVAC system damage on the bridge between ACT and Hubbard. The building is closed except for the first floor due to the impact to the sprinkler system.
- Alumni House — Working to remediate flooding from a broken pipe in the kitchen.
- Austin Hall (in Lowry Woods) — Multiple sprinkler system breaks, repairs and flooding remediation still in process; building is vacant as a result of sprinkler system being offline.
- Classroom Faculty Office Building (CFO) — Multiple sprinkler breaks, repairs in process, building is closed due to sprinkler system being off during repairs.
- Guinn/Stark Commons C-store and computer cluster — Working to repair sprinkler and HVAC system damage, as well as some remediation in the C-store. There was no direct damage to the computer cluster, but it was closed to minimize the number of individuals in the Commons during repairs.
- Fine Arts Annex — The HVAC system sustained damage and there is no heat in the building currently.
- Hubbard Hall/Redbud Theater Complex — There were sprinkler breaks in both the north and south sections of the building, as well as flooding from the sprinkler break on the ACT bridge. Working on remediation of flooded areas as well as system repairs.
- Visual Arts Building — There was significant flooding in the basement that is being remediated, and the elevator will need to be repaired before the building can reopen.
In a Feb. 17 email to the TWU Community, Chancellor Carine Feyten noted that, while the university was closed due to the winter storm, “Some colleagues in facilities, public safety, housing and dining, and technology have worked … through all these ‘snow’ days.” She added thanks to those who worked to keep residential students safe and buildings and computer networks operational.
Provost Carolyn Kapinus echoed that thanks in a Feb. 19 update to the university community, adding:
“All of us have had our lives disrupted to varying degrees. I hope we continue to show compassion and empathy for each other and our students as we work through the challenges of recovery.”
Employee Emergency Assistance Fund
Some of our TWU family members in Denton, Dallas and Houston are experiencing significant financial crises as a result of last week’s snow, ice and frigid weather. Some families are still without power or water and have had to relocate to hotels or move in with family members or friends. The added stress of assessing damages, scheduling home repairs, and relocating in the midst of the pandemic has created an even greater burden for many of our coworkers.
If you’re interested in helping and would like to support TWU’s Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, you may DONATE ONLINE.
The Office of Human Resources manages the administration of the Employee Emergency Assistance Fund through an application process. Employees seeking assistance may complete the application (see the link on the EEAF page) and submit it to Angela Cagle at email@example.com.