The remaining evidence of the July flood that swept through the campus of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College dwindles with each passing week, according to campus officials.
Several months of construction efforts still remain, said Tom Poole, vice president for fiscal affairs, but the college has made strides in rebuilding what the flood destroyed.
Administrators project that repair efforts to the building that houses the gymnasium and athletic offices and to the health sciences building, the two structures that received the brunt of the damage, are expected to be wrapped up by late April of 2008 and mid December of 2007.
In all, 12 structures on campus incurred damage from the flooding, said Christen Stark, director of public relations and marketing. The damage to several of the buildings, including the dormitories, Ables Hall and the student union, was limited to the basements and was repaired in the weeks following the flood. The first floor of all the campus apartments, maintenance building, football fieldhouse, gymnasium and health sciences building had several feet of flood water, Stark said. The first -floor apartments were gutted and cleaned, but campus officials opted not to allow students to move back in. The interior of the football fieldhouse and maintenance building has been reconstructed.
Several feet of flood water also sat on NEO's football, baseball, softball and practice fields. The football and softball fields have been fully restored, Stark said, and a small amount of work is still left on the baseball field.
In addition, the equipment for each of the athletic teams, which was stored inside the gymnasium building during the flooding, was lost and has since been replaced.
The total cost of the flood damage is estimated to be $14 million, Poole said. The college expects to receive funds from insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover the majority of the damages.
“Overall, the reconstruction efforts have been well-coordinated and fast-paced,” said Poole. “The entire process has been remarkably smooth.”
Crews from Crossland Construction are expected to remain on campus until late April to repair the damage in the gymnasium building. Demolition to the interior of the structure has been completed and college officials estimate that the rebuilding phase for that project will begin before the end of the month. Though minor changes have been made to the building's layout, the vast majority of the gymnasium building will remain as it was before the flood, said Poole. The estimated cost of repairs for the building is $2.2 million.
Faculty should be able to return to the Health Sciences Building in mid-December. Classes are expected to resume in that building during the spring semester. All of the classes that were held in the health sciences building were absorbed into other locations on campus except for three nursing skills labs that are being held in downtown Miami.
During the course of preparing plans for the health sciences building, interior changer were made better meet the needs of its students. A skills lab for nursing students was expanded so that more could have access.
The expansion to the lab allows students to have additional practice time and fewer scheduling conflicts. Space for 10 computers was also included.
A separate room for a Medical Education Technologies Inc. mannequin was included in the new plans for the health sciences Building. The college obtained this $40,000 piece of equipment through a grant with Oklahoma University, Integris Grove General Hospital and other state agencies. The mannequin can simulate life-like scenarios for the students and better prepare them mentally and emotionally for an environment in a health-care.
“We needed a separate space to better house and secure the mannequin,” Morgan said. “In addition, having a room entirely for the mannequin will enable three to four students to take part in the simulation. There is now enough room for the scenario to include a primary nurse, secondary nurse and even students to play the role of family members.”
Repairs to the Health Sciences Building are estimated to cost $1.3 million. The college will also purchase an estimated $60,000 in equipment for the health sciences building to replace what was destroyed in the flood. The figure would have been much larger were it not for the generosity of area hospitals who donated supplies, according to Stark.