While Superstorm Sandy has left destruction in its path after tearing through cities such as New York, and Atlantic City, N.J., State College and the Penn State University Park campus have experienced minimal damages.
Communication Coordinator for Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant Paul Ruskin said that he hasn’t heard of a lot of damages, and that only one leakage problem has been reported thus far.
The Sackett Building, which serves as the academic building for the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is currently experiencing leakage in its roof, Ruskin said. Several people reported the issue to the OPP and they are currently working on fixing it.
The Sackett Building was originally built in 1930, and Ruskin said seeing this particular building have a problem is not unusual due to its old age.
Ruskin also said the average age for the older buildings on campus is 33 years old, while the Sackett Building stands at about 83 years old.
Another problem OPP has been facing due to hurricane damages is a recent request for a pothole repair on Services Road on the edge of campus.
“[The damage] isn’t necessarily caused by the storm, but the pothole is so filled up with water that people can’t see it on the road,” Ruskin said. “We’re looking to repair it as fast as we can.”
Due to all of the forewarnings for Superstorm Sandy, Ruskin and the rest of the OPP have been taking various preventive measures to protect the University Park campus, including checking storm drains, catch basins and roofs that have previously been subject to damage.
“We went around the entire campus prior to the storm and we cleaned and looked at all areas that may have a problem,” Ruskin said. “We knew where to expect problems, directed the problems and minimized them before they actually occurred.”
Ruskin said that in the past, hurricanes have left State College with injuries and tree limbs causing damage, but that this year, the area has been very fortunate to not really experience these kinds of damages.
For the State College borough, damages have also been reported as minimal, even to officers currently across the country.
Mark Whitfield, director of the Department of Public Works, who is currently vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he has been keeping close contact with colleagues and others back in the State College area.
“I’ve been checking with them for any updates, and I haven’t heard much of anything,” Whitfield said. “If there is any damage, it must be very minimal.”
Public Works Operations Manager for the State College Borough Eric Brooks, in compliance with Whitfield, said any damage that has been reported has been very minimal and nothing unusual for a storm.
“We have experienced some minor flooding, and some dead wood falling out of trees,” Brooks said. “Other than that, a few street lights have been damaged, and that is all that we have seen.”
As Superstorm Sandy continues to make its way along the east coast, Penn State’s OPP looks to the future with optimism of future successes of their preventive measures.
“We may have experienced minor leaking, minor flooding in places and a few trees limbs down, but overall, we passed the hurricane test with flying colors,” Ruskin said. “We’ll be more than prepared for the next one.”
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