By TRACEY EASTMAN
Published January 17, 2023
The scope of the December 2022 blizzard was enormous, with record snowfall and hurricane-force winds. Like many places in the Buffalo area, UB’s North and South campuses suffered damage to several buildings. In general, the damage was caused by frozen pipes that led to water damage.
University Facilities has been hard at work assessing the extent of the damage to campus buildings and putting a restoration plan in place.
While it was initially expected that all buildings impacted by the storm would reopen this month, University Facilities crews discovered additional water damage to the Biomedical Research Building (BRB) and Cary Hall that will require significant repairs and take 12 months to complete. BRB will remain closed until further notice, as will the ground and first floors of Cary Hall, while damage assessment and repairs continue.
Unit Facilities Planning Management Officers (FPMOs) and deans with spaces impacted by the storm are receiving frequent status updates and will be in contact with affected individuals with instructions about temporary workspace and lab relocations, as necessary. A website with detailed status updates about the repairs to BRB, Cary and other campus spaces is in development and will be shared with unit FPMOs.
Clemens, Cooke and Fronczak halls have reopened, but spaces within each building remain under repair. As necessary, these spaces will be either blocked off or marked with signage to ensure the safety of community members.
The only student residence building affected by the storm was Flint Village, where a burst water pipe caused damage to six apartments in one building. The freezing of water in the pipes resulted from a window that was blown open by high winds. Approximately eight students in Flint Village will be relocated as apartments are repaired; those students have been notified by Campus Living. It is expected they will return to their repaired apartments at some point in February.
“Although the damage to university buildings is significant, the recovery and repairs are manageable,” says Tonga Pham, associate vice president for university facilities. “We are mobilizing our resources and working with partners within and outside UB to get the affected spaces restored to normal operation as soon as possible.”
With the exception of the BRB, Cary Hall and impacted apartments in Flint Village, the university does not expect access to any other buildings or classrooms will be limited when students return to campus on Jan. 30.
University employees who encounter any damage to their area’s work, classrooms, seminar spaces or lab areas should inform their unit’s FPMO of the problem immediately. FPMOs will report the issue directly to University Facilities. If your unit FPMO is unavailable, please report the issue directly to University Facilities customer service at email@example.com or 716-645-2025 during regular business hours.