By, Madalyn Johnson & Mack Olmsted, Web Editor & Staff Writer
Since the summer months, water damage has impacted a few athletic facilities on campus.
Leaking in the basketball film room in Alumni and water infiltration into the gym floor in Draddy is as a result of storms that hit the Northeast this summer. Since the start of the fall semester, more problems from recent storms have added to the severity of the problems, delaying a certain group of Manhattan athletes from getting back to work like old times.
“Our volleyball match got moved to October 27,” sports information director Kevin Ross told the Quad. “The storm did cause some damage to the floor, and as of now we are still gathering information as to what the next steps will be.”
Matthew McManness, vice president of finance, acknowledged that the water problems have compounded since the start of the semester.
“It’s very tough to predict future storms as you already know, but two historic storms within two months is very challenging for everyone,” McManness said. “During Hurricane Ida we added many staff and other contractors on campus to sandbag certain areas that we knew are problematic.”
The necessary changes that will be made, McManness says, likely includes redesigning the drain area on Walsh Plaza in order to resolve the water issues in and around Draddy Gym.
The school has worked with multiple organizations to develop protocols in the event of future emergencies related to athletics facilities.
“Actually our facilities management team, capital projects manager and athletics teams came together to come up with the best solutions for the film room and the court,” McManness said. “We have contracts signed for both areas and we are awaiting approval of permits to start these projects in the next few weeks because we want to get these areas turned back over to the coaches as soon as possible.”
Despite the water damage Hurricane Ida caused in classrooms, dormitories and the Draddy court, McManness says the leaking in the film room did not get worse from the historic storm.
“We had already made some repairs [to the film room] to prevent further damage but we are also in the process of replacing the roof of Alumni Hall and that will provide further improvements and prevent future leaks,” McManness said. “That project will be completed this fall.”
Marianne Reilly, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, expects the athletics department to continue to follow guidance from the college, specifically Physical Plant, on what protective measures to take in addition to what her department is doing internally.
“Whenever we hear it’s going to rain, I think we start to think a little bit ahead of time, but it really lies with the college and the college facilities as to what the next steps will be to prevent this, not to just repair, but to prevent it, if at all possible,” Reilly said.
Three years ago the courts in Draddy were completely renovated but the constant series of storms that have hit the Northeast in recent years seriously damaged the previous replacement. Reilly recalls the damage she witnessed when walking into Draddy early one morning.
“Last Saturday we came in and I watched them dissect the court with my own eyes and saw the water had seeped in from through the ticket booth and onto the court,” Reilly said. “Because of the rain and the fact that it came down so fast so quickly that even if you had multiple drains out there, they may not have been enough to catch all the water that was coming.”
Reilly, with the help of maintenance and others, examined the court floors and weren’t surprised to see that water made its way underneath. The next steps in the assessment will be led by the flooring company who is subcontracted by the school.
“So now what the floor company is going to do is come back in and dissect a little bit more to see if the water has stopped and if so where does it stop, and then we’ll proceed from there once they tell us the next steps,” said Reilly.
Reilly eventually made the decision that it wasn’t safe for the volleyball teams to play on Draddy court.
“Coach Sarich has tried different methods of practice like Walsh Plaza, they’ve gone to the Jasper area but that’s not really level playing and we were thinking about going up to the Quad,” Reilly said. “We’ve actually done some sand volleyball. It’s a little different, obviously, but it gets them together as we do the best we can to get them in a facility that mimics more of what they’re used to.”
After a difficult year marred by delays and restrictions, Reilly stressed that the athletics staff is doing everything they can to work through the negative outcome of these storms so that the volleyball team can return to their normal routine.
“I think we did an outstanding job to get offices back up and running and classrooms back functioning. It’s gonna take a little bit of time after last year, but it is what it is and you just have to know that everybody’s giving their best.”