Wayne State’s campus has sustained significant damage due to flooding caused by heavy rainfall across Metro Detroit over the weekend.
Of the 117 buildings on campus, 52 took on varying levels of water damage, said Associate Vice President of University Communications Matt Lockwood. Six campus buildings have closed due to the damage and 111 remain open.
Gov. Whitmer issued a state of emergency for Wayne County Saturday amidst the flooding and power outages, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Lockwood said WSU is in better shape than some surrounding areas.
“As bad as the flooding was in Detroit, Wayne State is fortunate that things weren’t worse and the worst of the damage was isolated to those six buildings,” Lockwood said. “The important thing is nobody was hurt and these things can be repaired.”
The Emma Lazaroff Schaver Music Building, Community Arts Building, Art Building, Tierney Alumni House, McGregor Memorial Conference Center and Law School are closed due to varying levels of flooding, he said.
Junior political science major and Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments resident Sydney Seng said though he was not impacted by the flooding, he heard concerns from neighbors.
“I personally haven’t been affected, although I know of a few residents who were scared about water damage to cars,” Seng said.
Lockwood said campus housing had power outages on Saturday, which were fixed within 12 hours.
As of Monday, the Music Building’s mechanical room was flooded with three feet of water and the Community Arts Building had three feet of water in its sub basements, Lockwood said. Law School classrooms had issues related to standing water drainage from its roof.
The Community Arts Building had water in some of its classrooms and the Alumni House had three feet of standing water, Lockwood said. The McGregor Center also had flooding in its kitchen and conference storage room.
AWD resident and sophomore nursing major Taya Maggard said she wasn’t significantly affected by the flooding.
“I haven’t been impacted much, per say,” Maggard said. “Other than flooding in the parking lots at Anthony Wayne, I haven’t had problems with power or anything like that.”
Lockwood said WSU is not aware of flooding issues in campus parking facilities.
WSU expects the six closed buildings to be operational by the fall semester, he said. Reopening dates are currently undetermined.
“There’s still standing water in the basements, and they’re still trying to pump out the water,” Lockwood said. “We can’t get a full assessment until that’s done, but the goal would be to have everything assessed, remediated and reconstructed and ready to go to start classes in the fall.”
Seng said he hopes this incident increases awareness of infrastructure issues in Detroit.
“Flooding at Wayne isn’t uncommon, it’s well known that the city of Detroit doesn’t have a great sewer system, so this intense flooding was gonna happen at some point,” Seng said. “I hope it spurs some people to start thinking about this more often.”
WSU had three remediation companies on campus this week to assess and clean up the damage, Lockwood said. Repairs for some buildings are expected to take up to a week.
In-person classes, which were shifted online temporarily, are expected to resume on July 6, he said. In-person campus tours were supposed to start this week, but have been postponed until next week to ensure a safe experience for visitors.
Lockwood said he was optimistic about resuming affected campus operations in a timely manner.
“This is just a temporary setback, and we’re going to roll with it,” Lockwood said. “We’re going to get back to business as soon as possible.”
Additional updates on campus flooding can be found at WSU’s website.
Irving Mejia-Hilario is the managing editor for The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Quinn Banks, The South End's multimedia editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.