North Texas Daily

Ice storm damages still under assessment

Ice storm damages still under assessment

Ice storm damages still under assessment
January 23
16:09 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

Facilities supervisor Scott Roush didn’t leave his driveway for two days when the ice storm hit last December.

He could have, he said, with his four-wheel drive truck, but he was mostly worried about other people running into him on the icy roads.

Roush was one of the facilities workers who worked through the six-day closure the ice storm caused. In total, the department laid five tons of ice-melting salt and 350 tons of sand to help students who resided on campus get to the library and cafeterias.

“It was horrible out there,” he said. “[I] didn’t see many bike riders or skateboarders, let me put it that way.”

Facilities director David Reynolds said damage from the storm and related costs are still being calculated, but will likely be around $100,000. UNT is covered for storm damage with a $100,000 deductible, so the university likely won’t have to pay more than that.

Director of risk management services Doug Welch said he expects the claim to be closed in late February.

Reynolds said the major pieces of damage were caused by ice falling on window shades on the Business Leadership Building and the Kerr Hall cafeteria windows. The shades were warped and multiple windows were broken.

Many other buildings also suffered roof tile damage from water seeping in, freezing and refreezing, and knocking the tiles loose. Reynolds said contractors are still working to find the full extent of these instances.

In addition to covering the campus with sand and salt, Reynolds said facilities crews worked to chip away the ice around handicap entrances, as well as checking the air conditioning and heating units.

Coming from a 30-year facilities career, Reynolds said each ice storm has a different character.

“This one had a lot of ice buildup on the ground, but there was no buildup on overhead lines and trees,” he said. “Everyone around the area experienced this one differently [because of] the thickness of the ice that was on the ground.”

Another distinguishing factor about this storm was timing — just before finals week. The storm closed campus for almost a full week, locking students out of three and a half days of scheduled finals.

Associate registrar Keitha Robertson said she lost count of the number of versions the rescheduled finals went through. By moving some classes to different rooms and asking as many instructors as possible to provide alternative means of taking the tests, a team led by Robertson managed to get every test in before commencement the Saturday after finals.

“This is the first time in anyone’s memory that something like this has happened on finals week,” she said. “We have a large commuter population. Given the same situation again, I feel that we [had] the best solution possible.”

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