The first floor of Hubbard Hall will remain closed the remainder of the spring semester as repairs in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri continue through the summer, administrators said last week.
While the second floor of Hubbard is open, classes previously held in the student union have been relocated, and certain first-floor spaces like the Veteran’s Lounge will remain closed as construction continues. Hubbard received the worst of the water damage from February’s winter storms, with water from leaks in both the Administration Conference Tower bridge and Redbud Theatre flowing into the low point of Hubbard, Robert Ramirez, associate vice president of facilities management and construction, said.
“We have a few spots that are still undergoing water mitigation meaning we’re still drying it out, but most of the downtime is in the rebuild,” Ramirez said.
Construction crews will need to perform restoration repairs, including drywall replacement and possibly some carpet replacement, as moisture tests and the level of water damage determine what can be restored and what will need to be replaced, Ramirez said.
Administrators have been working with certain first-floor occupants like Chick-fil-A so they can access their kitchen. Tables for Chick-fil-A and Qdoba Mexican Eats have been set up on the second floor for guests to place their orders, and runners can go to the first floor to prepare orders and bring them back, director of dining services Diane Jackson said. The restaurants will operate normal hours and serve the full menu.
Community Choice has been temporarily relocated to Oakland Café, where it is offering a limited menu of burgers and shakes, Jackson said.
Other offices, like the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach, will remain remote until repairs are completed. The campus bookstore will remain closed, but staff plan to host a pop-up event in April to allow students who purchased products or regalia online to pick up items, according to an update on TWU’s website. Honors stoles cannot be purchased online and are unavailable until the pop-up event.
Though all campus buildings are open, work is still being completed in a few spaces. In the ACT, work continues in the Financial Aid office, which was flooded when sprinklers and a fan coil leaked during the storms. An elevator is being repaired in the Fine Arts building and work on the HVAC system is being completed in Pioneer Hall, but those buildings are otherwise fully operational and occupied, Risk Management Executive Director Matt Moustakas said.
TWU has two insurance claims filed with Texas’s State Office of Risk Management: one for rare items and fine arts collectibles like the dresses in the First Ladies Historic Costume Collection, and one for most other claims. Several of the dresses in the collection got wet during the flooding but the damage is still being evaluated and many of the gowns are replicas, Moustakas said.
It will be some time before administrators know the full cost of the repairs, since not all of the work has been completed yet and many other universities are also filing claims following the storms.
Featured image: Students dine on the first floor of Hubbard Hall January 15, 2021. The first floor will remain closed the rest of the spring semester following damage from Winter Storm Uri. Photo by Sarah Pham.