Heavy rain causes $250,000 damage

Tuesday’s flooding caused approximately $250,000 in damage to Mercyhurst College’s campus  and left the basements of at least 24 buildings on campus in need of repair.

“We are still in the process of assessing damages, but the places that got hit the hardest so far look to be the Wayne Street apartments, all the basement apartments on Briggs and Lewis Avenues and even the basements of Baldwin Hall, Zurn Hall and the Herrmann Student Union,” said Tom Billingsley, the college’s executive vice president for administration.

Whole sections of East 38th street were closed off after Erie received 5 inches of rain Tuesday morning. Much of the water was drained or pumped from campus buildings by Tuesday afternoon, but because of danger of the floods and damage to homes, Millcreek Township and the city of Erie declared a state of emergency.

A preliminary list of areas damaged by the flood released Tuesday by Ken Stepherson, director of the physical plant, reported damage to the Fitness Center (from the foyer into the fitness center and basketball stage), D’Angleo Music Department (rooms 1 and 2), Baldwin Hall (3” of water in football offices and locker rooms), Student Union (lower level and Great Room), and Zurn Hall (dark room and stairwells). Water entered the basement of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) through the main power conduit to that part of the building, but did not cause much long-term damage, according to Randy Stankey, the PAC’s technical manager.

The basements of 18 apartments flooded. On Briggs, water broke into the common area of 3937 and 3939 and the #1 apartments in 3907, 3909, 3809, 3827, 3809 and 611. On Lewis water damaged, the common areas of 3828, 3830, 3908 and 3910 and the #1 apartments in 3825 and 3809 flooded.

According to Billingsley, all of the damage was covered under insurance and the buildings will be fixed by August.

 “We’re recovering pretty nicely here,” Billingsley said. “We had everybody here, all the custodial and maintenance staff and student workers, so we were able to marshal major forces and get a lot of the water damage remediated. We have some outside help underway where we took more water than we could handle.”

In addition to damaging campus buildings, the flood caused damage to the personal property of dozens of students and employees at Mercyhurst.

Residence Life Assistant Director Sean O’Neill’s recently purchased ’08 Honda Civic was parked in underground Lot 13 on the day of the flooding.  The high water destroyed O’Neill’s car. He is currently talking with his insurance company and the college to see what can be done.

Club Hockey Coach Tom McKinnon lost inventory for the club hockey team and personal items. Some of those lost items included hockey gloves, custom made goalie pads, game socks and practice jerseys, to name a few articles on a long list.

As of Thursday, most of the water was drained, but maintenance workers continued the clean-up of buildings damaged by the flood.