Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Administration & Finance

From: Ronnie Smith, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance
Subject: Hurricane Katrina Recovery – Update #24
Posted: September 4, 2006

A year has now passed since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and fundamentally changed our lives and the institution we serve. As we have wrestled with the daily challenges of the recovery effort, we may have occasionally lost sight of all that has been accomplished. So we will begin this update by looking back over the past 12 months, at least briefly, so that we might appreciate how far we have come since those difficult early days.

  • August 25, 2005. Hurricane Katrina is entering the Gulf of Mexico. Although projections show it heading to the panhandle of Florida, LSUHSC-New Orleans implements some critical emergency procedures. Payroll staff gear up and work late to complete the upcoming payrolls that would potentially be impacted. On Saturday, the wire transfers for all direct deposits are confirmed, so faculty and staff are assured of having funds deposited into individual’s accounts on time. Checks are printed and are transported to Shreveport by the N.O. Payroll staff who evacuates to Shreveport, where they plan to operate remotely if necessary. The Computer Services staff begins a complete series of backups of all the production systems. Back up tapes are transported by the core IT staff who evacuate to Shreveport to support remote operations.

  • August 29, 2005. Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast. The eye comes ashore just east of the City of New Orleans. As people go to bed that evening, it is believed that the city has avoided serious damage. Water is standing in the streets around the campus, but depths are only 1.5 feet or so.

  • August 30, 2005. In the early morning hours, LSUHSC staff who remained in campus buildings report that water has risen dramatically. The tops of stop signs are being covered and water is entering the 1st floor spaces. Emergency generators are being inundated and emergency power is expected to be lost shortly. The initial assessments of the major buildings on both the downtown and Dental School campuses will later reveal that extensive damage has been done to every major building and their critical systems (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, elevators, etc.)

  • September 2, 2005. Approximately 180 LSUHSC employees and family members are successfully evacuated from the campus. All are safe and in reasonably good health.

  • September 9, 2006. Shortly after the levee and flood wall breaches are confirmed, the IT staff begins ordering, receiving and installing servers, network equipment, storage devices and back up systems for a complete data center/hot site at the Department of Public Safety in Baton Rouge. Staff members are mobilized so that work continues 24 hours a day. On the 9th, a payroll for approximately 14,000 classified employees is successfully completed. Additional core administrative and clinical systems continue to be restored and put into production over the next few weeks.

  • September 26, 2005. Classes that were interrupted by the storm are resumed in a variety of temporary facilities in Baton Rouge. A remarkably high percentage of the students enrolled prior to the storm remain enrolled.

  • October 8, 2006. Faculty, staff and students begin to board the FinnJet ship which is docked across the river from Baton Rouge in Port Allen. Breakfast and dinner are provided. Wireless Internet connectivity is established on board. Bus service is provided to selected locations in Baton Rouge to assist those who do not have personal transportation available. Before the ship departs in early June 2006, nearly 1,000 individuals will have been provided a place to stay in support of the temporary LSUHSC facilities established in Baton Rouge.

  • October 13, 2005. Through the efforts of key LSUHSC Facilities staff and a variety of contracts, temporary electrical power and limited air conditioning is returned to most of the downtown campus buildings. This helps to slow further damage to the interiors from mold. Damage to the main buildings on the Dental School campus and to 1542 Tulane Ave. is so severe to make any temporary repairs and restoration impossible.

  • November 21, 2005. The State Architectural Selection Board selects the design team (architects & engineers) to design, specify and oversee the repairs to the downtown campus. Work begins immediately to design the environmental remediation contracts that are critical to the re-occupation and use of the buildings.

  • December 14, 2005. The Selection Board selects the design team to design, specify and oversee the repairs to the Dental School campus. Work begins promptly to design the large, temporary repair projects that will allow the re-occupancy of the upper floors of the Clinic and Admin buildings as quickly as possible. (It will take until early March, 2006 before environmental issues are resolved and the basement spaces can be safely entered by workers who are not wearing personal protective apparel.)

  • January 17, 2006. The upper floors of the CSRB are re-opened. Elevators are not yet certified and water pressure is too low on floors above the 4th floor to use the restrooms, but researchers are able to return and restart their research.

  • March 6, 2006. The upper floors of the Medical Education Building and the Lion’s/LSU Clinic Building reopen. Elevators are not immediately available.

  • April 7, 2006. Two large contracts for temporary repairs to the Dental School Clinic building, Administration building and the Power Plant are issued. The specifications are focused on restoring use of the upper floors of the buildings; similar to the patterns followed for downtown campus buildings.

  • April 21, 2006. The environmental remediation of 1542 Tulane begins. Significant environmental issues in the basement prevent the initiation of temporary repairs to the building electrical/mechanical systems.

  • May 1, 2006. The upper floors of the Nursing/Allied Health Building are reopened.

  • May 19, 2006. Stanislaus Hall reopens and students begin returning to on-campus housing.

  • May 26, 2006. The Residence Hall reopens and begins to accept students.

  • June 1, 2006. The Resource Center reopens and core administrative units return to the city.

  • June 9, 2006. The environmental remediation at 1542 Tulane progresses to the extent that the contractor making temporary repairs to the electrical/mechanical systems can begin.

  • August 10, 2006. Repairs to Lecture Room B in the Medical Education Building are completed and classes begin in that space.

  • August 16, 2006. Repairs to the Gross Anatomy Lab, the Swing Lab and the Morgue are completed. Students begin their studies in these spaces.

The challenges faced by the institution during the past 12 months have been daunting. It has been the untiring efforts, perseverance and dedication of staff and faculty that have brought us this far. Representatives from the State’s Office of Facility Planning & Control, the Office of Risk Management and FEMA have stood with us and supported us throughout. And the work continues …

The environmental remediation contractor has completed work in 1542 Tulane Ave. Results from the final air monitoring have allowed faculty and staff to enter the upper floors of the building once again, through a controlled access process.

The food service operation in the Medical Education Building will reopen on Monday, September 11, 2006. Hours of operation will be 7:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Catering services will also resume with the opening of the facility. The coffee kiosk in the Atrium is also scheduled to resume operations sometime later in the same week, but not later than Monday, September 18th. Its hours of operation will be from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Another parking lot at the intersection of Perdido Street and S. Roman Street has been re-opened for use. The Perdido St. parking lot parking is authorized for use by Graduate Students, 3rd & 4th Year Medicine Students, and assigned Roman St. Garage faculty and staff. The Perdido Street lot also offers accessible parking spaces for employees and students with mobility impairment.

The contractor responsible for temporary electrical and mechanical repairs to the critical building systems in 1542 Tulane has been making excellent progress. Many of the details are provided later in this update. Additional repairs necessary to allow re-occupancy of the building are now being identified. Specifications are being developed and will be addressed via change orders to the existing contract, or through new contracts as appropriate. We continue to focus on the fall of 2006 as the timeframe for reopening the building.

Work on the repairs to the main Dental School buildings also continues. The majority of the initial contract work has been completed. However, there are a number of additional work items that have been identified as required to allow reoccupation and use of the upper floors of the Clinic and Administration Building. Change Orders have been issued for some of these tasks and work is already underway on some of the critical items. New contract specifications have been developed for other tasks and bids will be solicited. The extent of the damage to these buildings has made the repair process particularly complex and challenging, but the design team and LSUHSC are working together closely to address the issues as they unfold.

Here are highlights of work that has been accomplished since our last update was posted two weeks ago.

  • The temporary repairs to the School of Dentistry Clinic and Administration buildings continue.
    • Work under the contract to remove and properly dispose of the flood damaged medical records that were stored in the basement has been completed. All of the records have been removed and destroyed.
    • Mold Remediation of heavily molded rooms (6413B, 6409, & 7409A) is complete. The contractors have installed the new drywall and are taping and floating the new walls.
    • The fabrication and piping of the medical gas systems (oxygen, nitrous oxide) has been completed and the pipes have been insulated.
      • The system was filled and placed under 80 lbs of pressure in preparation for system testing.
      • The system test occurred on 8/30 and some issues were identified. Those are now being addressed and a 2nd test is scheduled for 9/5/06.
    • Domestic Water System Sterilization/Sanitizing has been completed. The final/official test results & supporting documentation certifies that the system is ready for operation.
    • The temporary emergency generator has been delivered to the site and the installation is well underway. It should be completed and tested in the near future.
    • The contractor is completing the installation of the control panel for the ice water heat exchanger, Air Handling Units and Fan Coil Units (for the Basement & 1st Floor), steam to hot water converter, and the hot water heaters.
      • The hot water system is operating at half capacity due to a faulty panel supplied with one of the hot water heaters. The new panel is on order and is expected to arrive shortly.
    • Insulation of the newly installed water piping in the basement has been completed.
      • The labeling of the new piping and insulation is currently underway. The contractor has completed the chilled water piping, the steam piping, and the heating hot water piping. They have begun to work on labeling the domestic water and steam condensate pipes.
    • The contractor is working on repairs to the Soft Water System in the Power Plant. Two of the three soft water tanks have had the pipes and gauges changed.
    • Repairs to the elevators in the Clinic and Administration Building are progressing.
      • The contractor has changed the hoist cables, the travel cables, and the governor cables on the freight elevator & Elevators #1, #2, and #4 in the Clinic Building.
      • The hoist cables, governor cables, and the travel cables have been replaced on Elevator #5.
      • The contractor changed the governor shivs on the freight elevator and Elevators #1, #2, #3 and #4 elevators.
      • Elevators #6 & #7 in the Administration Bldg. are being prepped by the contractor. The rails and tracks in the elevator pits and shafts are being sanded & painted to add corrosion resistance.
      • The buffers have been changed on Elevators #6 & #7. However, further elevator work is now on hold until additional parts and materials arrive.
  • Bids have been received, evaluated and a contract has been awarded for additional repairs to the chilled water pump and related mechanical/electrical components in the Central Utility Plant, attached to the Roman St. Garage. These additional repairs will insure that we have sufficient chilled water capacity for the hottest summer months and also have a redundant pumping system should one fail or require repairs.
    • The variable speed drive and filters are on order. The necessary valves are ready to be replaced.
    • The repairs to the pump motor are expected to be completed within the next two weeks.
  • The contractor responsible for the temporary repairs to the building’s critical electrical & mechanical systems at 1542 Tulane Ave. has been making good progress.
    • The 13.8 K Volt switch gear has been delivered, set into place in the basement and it has been piped into the building systems.
      • The electricians are flagging and painting the 13.8V pipes red.
      • The electricians finished piping in the 13.8 V transformer to the switchgear. All of the wires have been pulled except for the wires to the vault.
      • The contractor has piped in the 1000KV transformer with the 13.8K amp transformer. All of the electrical loads from the building are terminated now, except for the loads to the elevators.
      • The electrical grounds have been made from the 1000 KV and 500 KV transformers to the water pipe and the grid in the vault.
      • The electrical grounds have also been connected to the 13.8 Amp switch gear.
      • The high voltage connections in the switch gear are being terminated.
      • Workers are in the process of piping in the 4th floor riser and they are piping in the vault to the 13.8 switch gear and the 500 and 1000 KV transformers. They are also terminating the electrical power and loads to the 1000 KV transformer.
      • The 480 V circuits are landed to the troughs and the starter disconnect.
    • All of the PL panels (1-5) are also terminated at the 1000KV transformer. The buses have been installed in the transformer.
      • They are preparing the electrical cables for connecting the loads run by the PL4 panel.
      • All of the existing electric panels have been located throughout the building.
      • Because of the age of the building, drawings of the original building systems as they were designed and built are not available. Therefore, the contractor has had to trace all of the old wires to insure that connections are made properly. This work continues.
      • The contractor is tracing the circuits to the PL2 and PL3 panels and the loads are being terminated as each trace is completed.
      • The change order for an additional sub-panel and the elevator feeder has been submitted. Once it has been approved, this work can begin.
  • MEB Repair Updates:
    • In Lecture Room A at the MEB, the contractor installed the remaining electrical & network connection pods in the table tops. There are still 40-50 seats without electrical power, while waiting for one additional wiring harness to be delivered and installed.
      • The installation of the remaining raceways, modesty panels and power pole covers is complete.
      • The electricians have tested all of the data connections in the data cabinets and at the table tops. They are completing the labeling of all the connections.
    • The gas pipe has been installed in Room 4207A, just off the Gross Anatomy Lab.
    • The last of the leaks have been fixed on the new sinks installed in the Gross Anatomy and Swing Labs. All of the fittings were tightened which seems to have resolved the last of the problems. The rooms are being used for classes at this time.
  • The contractor making permanent window repairs to the downtown campus is progressing well. There are 106 windows in the original project to make permanent window repairs on the downtown campus. 
    • There are 3 additional windows that were found broken.  A proposal has been sent to the architect for approval.  It will take eight weeks for the additional glass to arrive and be installed.
    • Damage to parts of the metal curtains walls on the Nursing/Allied Health Building and the CSRB have been addressed.
    • There are only two windows left to replace on the Allied Health Nursing Building.
    • Six windows for 1542 Tulane have been delivered but not yet installed.
  • The contract to add new lighting to various Student Parking Lots has been awarded and the demolition work under the contract has begun. We expect that the additional lighting will increase safety and security for the students who are back on the downtown campus.
  • Elevator #1 in the Resource Center is back in operation, following repairs completed today. (This was an elevator previously certified, but that had been out of service for some time.)
    • Elevator #4 is now certified and being used routinely.
    • The contractor is correcting maintenance items so that the Freight Elevator may also be certified.
  • The elevator pits in the Roman Street Garage have been pumped out and cleaned, so that repairs to the elevator parts in the pits can be completed.
  • The manufacturer of the Dental School incinerator is scheduled to start the initial repairs next Tuesday.

Please continue to follow our progress through our Daily Updates that are also available on the web site.