Aug. 13 storm causes about $300K in damage to Anderson Hall


Friday the 13th did not fail its reputation this month, bringing with it raging winds and severe weather that ripped through campus.

The late-afternoon storm produced intense winds, damaging several areas on the eastern side of the university.

Bruce Shubert, vice president of administration and finance, said Anderson Hall sustained most of the damage from the strong winds. He said the flat roof on the north wing of Anderson was torn off and an air conditioning unit next to the building was destroyed by an uprooted tree.

Noticeable damage could also be seen on a small portion of the rock wall paralleling Manhattan Avenue.

Shubert said insurance will help cover the estimated $290,000 in damages.

While the storms caused significant damage to parts of campus, Shubert said it was nowhere near the $8 million dollars of damage caused by the June 2008 tornado.

Ed Heptig, director of facilities maintenance, said employees from the facilities division, as well as several contractors around the city, worked to repair and clean the damaged portions of campus. They focused on fixing the roof on Anderson Hall and the chiller unit next to it, as well as removing trees.

Heptig said progress on the clean-up was going well and most damage should not be noticeable for students who are just returning to Manhattan.

“We’re certainly ready for classes to begin,” he said.

The storm was a microburst, or a concentrated downburst of air that produces intense winds similar to those found with tornadoes. Winds up to 93 miles per hour were reported at the Manhattan Regional Airport during this storm.

Heptig said with the storm reaching Manhattan around 4:30 p.m., there were still people on campus, but no injuries were reported.

“That’s the good thing out of it,” he said. “We’re fortunate.”

The powerful winds uprooted and overturned numerous trees, knocking out power to several university building and thousands of Manhattan residents.

One residence which felt the effects of the winds sits just across the street from campus on Manhattan Avenue. The storm caused a large tree to fall through the window of the house.

“I was pretty freaked out,” said Eric Hafner, senior in psychology. “It was eerie looking.”

Hafner, who was the only person in the house at the time of the storm, said he ran out of the kitchen just before the tree hit the window.

The house sustained damage to five different windows. The storm also caused damage to part of the roof, blew over the chimney and moved the furniture around.

“The furniture was actually blown into the corner,” said Zack Pistora, senior in political science.

Larry Fox, landlord for the house, which is owned by the KSU Foundation, said damages are estimated at $15,000.

The students living in the house went without power for about three days and without air conditioning for four.

“We had planned for it to be a weird night,” Hafner said, joking about Friday the 13th. “It ended up being a weird day.”