Nov. 21-Dec. 4, 2003
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Digest — U.Va. News Daily

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Volcanic eruptions may trigger El Niño
U.Va. not complaining about Isabel’s impact
Economic Engine — U.Va. Football
The Good Doctor
Hear, hear
When language skills fail
‘The Moon Has No Home’
Artisans’ Bazaar Back For Another Season
U.Va. not complaining about Isabel’s impact
serpentine wall dmaage
Photos by Chris Myers

By Matt Kelly

There is a scar in the grass along University Avenue, between Brooks Hall and the Rotunda — a flat, re-seeded area where a white oak tree had once stood for 190 years. The tree, a sapling when the first students entered Mr. Jefferson’s University, was a victim of Hurricane Isabel.

While the storm also damaged additional trees, a section of serpentine wall, some roofs and gutters, and an equipment shed, the University escaped relatively unscathed, physically. Financially, however, the storm cost about $1.6 million — a figure that does not include the value of the lost trees.

“We were lucky,” said Susan G. Harris, assistant to Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “No one was seriously injured. There were a lot of trees down, but there was no real damage to historic buildings. I think we are pretty fortunate.”

Isabel’s winds toppled many trees around Grounds, but caused little structural damage. Top, a tree fell on a portion of the serpentine wall near Pavilions I and III. Right, a smashed construction fence near the Rotunda. Bottom, trees down near the Dell.

Arborist Jerry F. Brown recited from memory the trees lost, which include a large red oak near Gilmer Hall; several trees around the intersection of McCormick and Alderman roads; a large, hollow oak near Copeley Hill; and two Kentucky coffee trees: one near the Faulkner residence halls and one in Pavilion I garden that grazed Pavilion III when it fell, breaking a rain gutter.

Richard F. Schupp, director of the Department of Risk Management, estimated the storm caused about $1.1 million in lost revenues.
About $937,000 of that loss came from the hospital, most of it due to a drop-off in out-patient business. “We looked at revenue normally recorded versus what was recorded the week of the hurricane,” said Lawrence L. Fitzgerald, associate vice president for finance and chief financial officer of the Medical Center. “Revenue is clearly down in the out-patient end of the operation.”

In-patient care, including surgery, went on as scheduled, Fitzgerald added. “We had significant staff that stayed all night to make sure the operation stayed running calmly ... and that patient care was not reduced in any manner.”

Marjorie L. Sidebottom, emergency management chairman for the Health System, said hospital personnel coped well with the storm. The Medical Center implemented its inclement weather plan, devised after last winter’s snow- storms, and relied on its own generators for electricity from 5 p.m. on Sept. 18 to 4:01 a.m. Sept 19, when Dominion Virginia Power was able to restore power to the hospital.

The operating room functioned normally and scheduled surgeries went ahead as planned, she said. Patients were invited to come to the hospital early.

“There were three babies born, and we saw 64 people in the emergency room,” she said.

Elsewhere on Grounds, sports facilities suffered damage from Isabel.
A tree fell on Slaughter Recreation Center, puncturing the rubberized roof and letting water onto the wooden gymnasium floor, according to Mark E. Fletcher, director of Intramural-Recreational Sports. Another tree demolished a chain-link fence at the Perry-Fishburne tennis courts near the Dell, he said.

IM Sports lost a $1,700 equipment shed at the Poplar Ridge ropes challenge course to a downed poplar tree. The shed, which had been in place less than a week, was empty.

Jason D. Bauman, associate athletic director, said 10 of 75 outdoor television sets were ruined in Scott Stadium’s luxury boxes. The cover of the filming deck, about midfield at the stadium, also disappeared in the wind. Otherwise, “I thought we came through it pretty well,” he said.
According to Schupp, the remainder of the economic loss came from Dining Services, the University Bookstore and other revenue-generating operations.

Some of the estimated $500,000 in damages and clean-up costs may be covered by insurance or assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


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