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At UNCW, Crews Clean, Repair As Officials Plan For Return Of Employees, Students

By Cece Nunn, posted Sep 24, 2018
Crews work Monday on UNCW's Dobo Hall, where water got inside the building after wind damaged parts of the roof. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
Hundreds of workers were cleaning up and repairing the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Monday, a process that has been ongoing in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

The school on South College Road issued a mandatory evacuation of its students for Sept. 11, and the hurricane made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14.

At least 200 trees fell on campus, said Miles Lackey, vice chancellor of business affairs, during a campus tour Monday afternoon. While most of the campus's 138 buildings are fine, said Chancellor Jose Sartarelli, Dobo Hall, a science classroom and research building that housed the chemistry and biochemistry department, seems to have sustained some of the worst damage, according to early assessments.

Sartarelli said Dobo Hall was affected when wind damaged the roof, causing leaks from the hurricane's record rainfall.

Clean-up and repairs are ongoing. A message from the chancellor Sunday asked faculty and staff to report back to campus by Wednesday if possible, but the campus would remain closed, partly because of repairs and clean-up.

"That's been one of the reasons that we've kept ourselves closed because there's a lot of stuff going on on campus with large machinery, and for more than anything else, for the sake of safety, we want to keep it that way." 

UNCW officials hope that classes can resume by Oct. 1, though they had not officially announced that date as of early Monday afternoon.

Aswani Volety, dean of UNCW College of Arts & Sciences, elaborated on Dobo Hall, saying part of what officials have been doing is to make sure faculty samples, research, equipment and materials are protected.

Along those lines, some have been moved to other buildings on the main campus and some to UNCW's Center for Marine Science in the Myrtle Grove area.

Officials are also working to identify research, laboratory and instructional spaces to meet the needs of students.

"That was paramount to us," Volety said Monday.

Marilyn Sheerer, provost and vice chancellor, said UNCW is getting close to finalizing the strategies necessary to make sure students have the time to complete their courses.

"Of course we have to make up a good number of instructional hours due to accreditation and academic integrity so that we deliver what we're supposed to deliver to the students," she said.

To employees in his message Sunday, Sartarelli wrote, "We will confirm the timeline for the resumption of classes as soon as we possibly can. You will also receive an email in the coming days from our Human Resources team, with information on support resources available as you continue to assess and recover from the damage done by Florence."

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