Allison's gone but damage
By Ashley Clark
The Daily Cougar
It was a year ago that Tropical Storm Allison
unleashed a fury of rain on Houston, wreaking havoc on the city and causing
millions of dollars of
damages to campus.
Though the rains are long gone, the University
is still in the midst of repairing two of the hardest-hit buildings, the
University Center Satellite
and UH Law Center library.
"Allison caused the University $100 million
in damages," said Dave Irvin, the associate vice chancellor and associate
vice president of plant
operations. "That of course, does not
include the amount in research and business."
Within 24 hours Allison had dropped 32
inches of rain causing $55 million worth of damage to the books in the
law library and $35 million to
the building, last June.
"In order to ensure that the library can
with stand another flood we moved the library from the basement," Irvin
said. "The things that we placed
in the basement are things that can be
quickly repaired if there was another flood."
The Satellite, which once housed Taco Bell,
Pizza Hut and other eateries, was totally devastated when Allison blew
through it and has not been
open for a year, but it is not expected
to sit idle for another semester.
"We are anticipating a good portion to
be up and running by the fall," Irvin said. "We expect the renovation for
the food areas to be done by
According to Irvin, the Satellite, which
was built in 1973, is going to be much better than it was before the flood.
"We added a Starbucks and we improved the
layout in terms of getting students their food more quickly," Irvin said.
"We upgraded the design by
adding different colors and I think that
it makes it more exciting."
Aside from cosmetic differences, the Satellite
is undergoing changes that will maintain its ability to withstand damage
in case of another flood.
"We looked at relocating the Satellite,
but it was too expensive," Irvin said. "In order to ensure that less damage
occurs we included more
pumps that can handle water and auxiliary
power in case the electricity goes out. We also created a sewer system
that can handle water more
efficiently, better storm doors on the
tunnel and we placed the electrical outlets higher."
According to Irvin, both the Satellite
and the Law library are going to update the handicap access ramps that
lead to their entrances to be within
the codes for the Americans with Disabilities
Act. Fire codes for both buildings are also going to be updated.
The roofs of 10 other buildings, including
Cullen Performance Hall, damaged during the flood are also being repaired
"After the flood we put up temporary roofs
for all of those buildings, but now we are going back and repairing them
as well as the minimal
damage they incurred," Irvin said.