U.Va. not complaining about
by Chris Myers
By Matt Kelly
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
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.
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.”
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
Some of the estimated $500,000 in damages and clean-up costs may
be covered by insurance or assistance from the Federal Emergency