Flash floods damage campus buildings

By: Regina Wright ~Campus News Editor~

Newswire photo by Hannah Paige Michels | A number of buildings on campus were affected by the flooding, like the basement in the McDonald Memorial Library.

Swamped by five-plus inches of water in two hours, the Xavier campus and community are still cleaning up the aftermath from flash flooding last Sunday night.

Many academic buildings and residential halls had minor flooding but some buildings closest to storm drains were saturated with inches of water.

“I walked into my friend’s room on the bottom floor of Brockman and what was once a small puddle of water had started to spread pretty fast,” first-year marketing major Ally Knestrict said. “They had to pick everything up off the floor and move the stuff from their fridge to ours.”

The XU Alert Me sent out by Xavier Police was the first warning students had of the flash flooding weather advisory.

“Campus Police first notified us about the flooding, and our oncall person realized it was more than one person could handle, so they started calling others in,” Assistant Director of Physical Plant Mark Hanlon said. “We eventually had to call in outside contractors to help suck up the water. It was coming everywhere because so many storm drains had backed up, and that’s what caused so many of our problems.”

Water became deep in many areas near storm drains and soon became feet high.

“I was off campus at the time when the rain started, and I was worried about having to walk outside with how windy and heavy the rainfall was,” junior nursing major Katherine Hohl said. “It was nerve-wracking walking back to my room because my roommates called and had to move all of our belongings on top of the beds and tables because there was a giant puddle near our window in the Commons Parking Lot. My one roommate went outside to the parking lot and the water was up to her waist.”

Albers Hall, Alter Hall, Logan Hall, Edgecliff Hall, Hailstones Hall, Smith Hall and Schott Hall were among the academic buildings flooded. Some classrooms are still under repair and are expected to be fixed by next week. Flooding also occurred in the All for One Shop in U-Station, the Alumni Center, Schmidt Field House, the tennis courts and the Cintas Center basement. Three cars on Winding Way and one car attempting to drive through the water near the tennis courts became stuck and flooded, but no parking lots on campus were flooded.

“As of now all the water has been extracted, and a lot of carpet has been pulled off,” Hanlon said.

Teams were on campus this weekend to make sure that all of the water and moisture were out, according to Hanlon. The teams checked the floors and walls to confirm that they were dry, and in some areas, the bottoms of the walls had to be taken out to avoid trapped moisture. “We want to make sure there is no moisture entrapped in spaces to prevent any growths and odors down the road,” Hanlon said.

The surrounding community faced the most damage as many houses in Norwood belonging to residents and commuter-students flooded.

Several roads were also closed because of storm drain back-ups, and many travelers on I-71 came to a complete standstill while waiting for the rainfall to stop and water to clear. Numerous ramps and passages under bridges were submerged.

“On my way to Xavier, I actually had to take three detours because so many roads were shut down,” Hanlon said.

Many residents’ basements were affected, but the American Red Cross Cincinnati Chapter is assisting 30 residents who were flooded out of their homes and displaced.

An estimated 517 houses and businesses in the Norwood and St. Bernard area faced minor to severe water damage, according to a door-to-door assessment made by the Hamilton County Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency. Two houses and the Fun Factory on Sherman Avenue were completely destroyed.

In the wake of the damage, a number of charity funds have been set up to assist those affected by the flooding.

Local radio stations hosted “Norwood Day” last Tuesday to collect donations of cleaning supplies for flood victims. Vineyard Central Church and Norwood Moose Lodge also had a donation drop-off location. The Norwood Firefighters Association opened a donation account at Fifth Third Bank, and donations can be made by going to a Fifth Third Bank and requesting to donate to the Norwood flood victims.

Cincinnati Fireman Wives currently have donation boxes located in Logan Hall and Hinkle Hall hoping to receive cleaning supplies, boxed food goods and clothes for flood victims.