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Flooding damages six buildings on GSU campus

By Raven LeDay
On April 11, 2019

Woodson Hall has experienced substantial damage for multiple years. Campus flooding occurred in 1985, 1991, 1994, 2002, 2015 and 2016. Courtesy photo

Community members assess damage to Charles P. Adams Hall following the 1991 flash flood. Courtesy photo

 

Six buildings were damaged by massive floodwaters after Grambling State University’s campus experienced heavy rain and high winds on Sunday, April 7.

Buildings that suffered damage in the flooding include off-line Woodson Hall and the new police station.

That evening of the flood, University Communication sent alerts to faculty, staff and students regarding road closures due to excessive flooding:

- RWE Jones Highway (between Central Avenue and College Avenue)

- Cole Street (between RWE Jones HWY and Ballock Street

- College Avenue (areas west of Main Street)

Classes and administrative offices were closed on Monday, April 8. The university resumed its normal schedule Tuesday, April 9. 

Flood-impacted areas were evaluated by Facilities and Safety and Risk Management team members. 

Woodson Hall, which was reportedly set to reopen following repairs after the last flood in 2016, was inundated once again. 

“We have already started the insurance claim process but we may discover things we didn’t know before,” said Keith Odom, GSU’s director of Safety and Risk Management, said. 

“Health has to be accomplished first, before any construction can be discussed,” said Odom. “I commend the restoration crews for coming in and quickly assessing the damage.”

The latest flood is just another occurrence in a long string of floods on campus going back 30 years. 

So where does so much water come from? 

In 1983, the Grambling State University Tigers football team moved to Eddie Robinson Stadium which was built over Red Wine Creek. 

Due to multiple buildings constructed following Eddie Robinson Stadium, including Jacob T. Stewart and Woodson Hall, drainage from severe weather in the Red Wine Creek area is unable to be pumped out correctly. 

High water has hit the campus in 1985, 1991, 1994, 2002, 2015 and 2016. 

According to the National Weather Service, Grambling received 2.5 to 3 inches of rain Sunday afternoon causing Red Wine Creek to flood the lower western campus structures. 

According to a press release, university officials are working with FEMA and partners on a larger Drainage Update Project. 

As recently as March 28, multi-agency work groups have discussed the advances on the project which would help mitigate the impact of severe weather. 

“We look forward to furthering the conversation around our ongoing Drainage Update Project,” said President Rick Gallot in a statement Monday. “And will remain in close contact with the governor, our representatives, and the federal partners who are helping drive progress on this work.“

In the last flood in March 2016 the campus experienced substantial damage to university facilities, including the closing of T.H. Harris Auditorium, Woodson Hall and Charles P. Adams Hall. 

Damage at the time was estimated to be in millions of dollars. 

This time the extent of the damages an the cost to repair them are as of yet unknown. 

Next week, The Gramblinite will look further into this continual issue and discuss the recovery and preventative solutions the university is exploring. 

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