30 UNM buildings damaged in rain storm, flood

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Damage from Friday night’s heavy rain storm keeps adding up on the UNM campus and now it’s much more widespread than many first thought. UNM says at least 30 buildings on campus were damaged in some way because of Friday night’s rain storm.

Among the victims is the university’s very first building, Hodgin Hall, where water rushed through several floors. UNM officials said they are still adding up how much the damage will cost, however, it will likely be in the range of at least tens of thousands of dollars.

“You see the ceiling came down” said Karen Abraham, executive director of the UNM Alumni Association.

Even with a mess of plaster all over the floor inside UNM’s historic Hodgin Hall, Abraham said she feels lucky.

“This could have been much more damaging,” said Abraham.

There’s 123 years of history in Hodgin Hall, some of which was flooded on Friday night.

“There was water damage on three floors of the building,” said Abraham.

The damage was most significant in the building’s parlor, however, water also seeped down to the hardwood floors in several rooms, warped the paint on the walls and caused original door frames to peel away.

Despite the damage, no irreplaceable items were lost, according to Abraham.

“It makes your heart sink a little bit, because it’s a proud, proud building and you know it when you walk in it,” said Abraham.

However, the damage in Hodgin Hall is just the tip of the iceberg according to some UNM officials.

“We’ve had about 30 buildings that have been affected by water,” said Mary Vosevich, director of UNM’s Physical Plant Department.

Vosevich oversees much of the facilities and infrastructure on UNM’s campus. She said nearly every corner of the university was touched by the storm including some expensive technology in the Health and Sciences Center.

“We had one facility where an HVAC unit was struck by lighting,” said Vosevich.

Vosevich said the lightning strike forced UNM to pull in outside cooling equipment for one of its sensitive laboratories.

The worst damage was in the Centennial Library where several shelves of old soaked government documents have now been sent away to an out-of-state company to be freeze dried. Water seeped under doors in the Centennial Library and flowed down the main stairs and into the elevator shafts, damaging about 50 shelves of materials.

“Most of those were government documents with historic, that are unique to New Mexico, and just to the government documents collection,” said Nancy Dennis of the University Libraries and Learning College.

Fans and dehumidifiers have been placed throughout the library in an effort to dry everything else out.

“We’re in the very early stages of just trying to evaluate what all of the problem areas are,” said Vosevich.

Even though the damage has caused a fair share of issues, Karen Abraham thinks the university dodged a bullet.

“What did get touched can be fixed,” said Abraham.

UNM said the damage should not affect any classes which start in the coming weeks. Insurance adjusters are now going through the campus to order to calculate all of the damage. An estimate could come in the next couple weeks.

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