Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Administration & Finance

From: Ronnie Smith, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance
Subject:  Hurricane Katrina Recovery – Update #2
Posted: October 14, 2005

It was the end of September when we last updated you on the progress being made to restore the LSUHSC-New Orleans campus to normal operations.  Much has been accomplished in the days that have passed and much remains to be done.  As our ability to access the buildings, complete initial assessments and inspections, and to begin temporary repairs has increased, so has our knowledge about the work that is still ahead.

Here are highlights of work that has been accomplished since our previous update:

  • The temporary IT data center at the Department of Public Safety is stable and supporting key software applications.  Additional power supplies were needed to support the number of servers and related equipment required and the necessary parts were delivered and installed over the weekend of 10/8/05.  Additional software applications that had been waiting for the additional power supplies are now being brought on line.
  • Much of the significant (temporary) window repairs have been completed so that any inclement weather will not damage the interiors of our buildings further.  There continue to be individual windows and window seals that are found to be damaged, but the major exposure to the weather has been dealt with.  A thorough survey of the buildings by LSUHSC Facilities staff is underway.
  • Emergency repairs to the roof of the two Dental School buildings were completed at the beginning of October, but the rainfall from Hurricane Rita did additional damage to the interiors of those buildings.  More detailed inspections of roofs at the downtown campus are underway, following the discovery of some previously unidentified damage at the Residence Hall and the Resource Center.   Any temporary repairs identified as necessary will be handled by the contractor secured by the State Office of Facility Planning.
  • Following the major pump out of flood waters, ground water has continued to enter the basement spaces at 1542 Tulane, Stanislaus, and the Dental School.  Temporary, electric sump pumps were ordered and are being installed (connected to building power or generators) that automatically sense and remove water entering the basement spaces to prevent any further damage.
  • LSUHSC Animal Care staff has been actively participating in the clean up efforts which is helping to facilitate greater (safe) access to the various buildings on campus.
  • Weekly deliveries of liquid nitrogen have been arranged so that research samples remaining in campus buildings can be maintained until normal operations can resume.
  • A collaborative effort between the LSUHSC Facilities and Property team, Entergy, the environmental assessment contractor and various other contactors has effected temporary repairs in several buildings; allowing the provision of basic electrical power and air conditioning which will help to stabilize the buildings and minimize the potential for the spread of mold, etc.  Specifically:
    • Resource Center (Floors 3-8)
    • Stanislaus Hall
    • Residence Hall
    • Nursing/Allied Health (Floors 2-10)
    • Lions Eye Center (Floors 2-9, and lab exhaust)
    • CSRB (Floor 2, and lab exhaust)
  • The library consultant completed her review of the LSUHSC library materials and the Ische Collection was found to be in good shape.  The Dental School collection is at greater risk due to the additional water that has entered the building from the damaged roof. 
    • The contract to professionally clean/preserve the library collection has been awarded and they have already begun to remove the materials from the Dental School.  They will assess, clean and store the materials off site until the building is ready to be re-occupied. 
    • They were also asked to remove, clean and restore some key records from the Registrar’s Office. 
    • Since basic air conditioning is now available to the Resource Center and the heat and humidity has been brought down to more acceptable levels, it will not be necessary to remove the collection from the Resource Center immediately; we will coordinate the removal and cleaning of the collection with the environmental remediation work in the Resource Center so that the collection can be returned to clean space/shelving. 
  • A contract to do the initial cleaning of the building exteriors and the basements and 1st floors of buildings that were flooded has been awarded and work is underway.  Highlights include:
    • An estimated 60% of the debris has been removed from the downtown campus area.
    • Exterior wash down has been completed at the Resource Center, the Lions Eye Center, the CSRB, Residence Hall, Stanislaus and the MEB.  Lack of water has impeded progress at 1542 Tulane and the Dental School, but permission has been granted to use fire hydrants and adaptors have been ordered.
    • Interior wash down in the mechanical/electrical spaces has been completed in the CSRB, Lions Eye Center, Resource Center, and Nursing/Allied Health Bldg.
  • The contract with the architectural/engineering firms to assess the damage to the campus buildings is proceeding.  Their field work has been completed in most of the buildings and they are beginning to prepare the detailed, written reports on their findings.  This information will be used to develop the specifications for the permanent repairs, which will be coordinated with the State Office of Facility Planning and Control.
  • A separate contract has been awarded to a consulting firm specializing in environmental assessments.  The work has been underway since the beginning of October and the field work has been completed in all of the major buildings.  The information resulting from this work will be combined with that of the architect/engineers to produce the final plans for restoring the buildings to normal operations.
  • The evaluation and repair of elevators across the campus has begun.  The elevator maintenance contractors (already under existing annual maintenance contracts) have begun their assessments of the elevators and some repairs have already been completed.  The initial assessments completed so far indicate that damages to the elevators in the Dental School buildings are particularly extensive.   Repairs noted below are temporary and permanent repair work will occur in the future.
    • Elevators in the “B” and “C” towers of the Residence Hall have been repaired and are operating. 
    • Elevators 2, 3, and 4 in the Nursing/Allied Health Building have been repaired and are usable. 
    • The freight elevator and 2 of the passenger elevators in the Lions Eye Center are operating. 
  • With the provision of temporary power and air conditioning to the Stanislaus Building and the Residence Hall, students have been given permission to enter those buildings and remove their personal possessions.
  • The plans for provision of temporary housing in Baton Rouge for students, faculty and staff have taken a significant step forward.  The Finnjet ship has arrived and has docked in Port Allen.  All of the students and residents who have expressed interest in temporary housing (over 600) have been assigned rooms on the ship.  Room assignments for faculty and staff are now being made.
  • Refrigerators are being removed from the Residence Hall and Stanislaus and disposed of, after being sealed.  Cleaning of key areas of the rooms (kitchen areas, bathrooms, etc.) will begin shortly.
  • Movable equipment and furnishings in basements and 1st floors are being assessed by LSUHSC staff now.  A contract is being bid for the removal and disposal of these items that are not salvageable.  Items that may still be usable will be removed, given an initial cleaning and stored off site until they can be assessed further.
  • A contract is currently on bid to provide emergency air conditioning to the Dental School Clinic and Admin. Buildings, as the damage to switch gear and the power plant was more extensive here than in other buildings on the downtown campus.

It is still too early in the process to accurately predict when particular buildings will be ready for occupation.  In some instances, we are cautiously optimistic that the extent of the damage and resulting needs for repairs may be more modest than originally thought.  This may allow some buildings to be available for use earlier than others.  As our understanding of the specifics of each situation develops, we hope to be able to provide more information about the work required on a building by building basis.  We will continue to provide you with these updates as progress continues.