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CUNY campuses’ statuses post-hurricane
Article by M Chase Collum - November 13th, 2012

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York harbor just in time for Halloween, the city took a beating. While some neighborhoods were more severely affected than others, none were immune to Sandy’s influence. CUNY’s colleges are a testament to that.

While some neighborhoods, including Harlem and Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Bushwick and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, most did not even lose power or Internet service. Other areas, including Breezy Point in Queens and New Dorp in Staten Island were almost completely devastated.

One campus that lies in Zone A, where the floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy rose to around four feet deep in and around its campus, was the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

In an Oct. 30 letter to the student body, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said, “[BMCC] suffered significant water damage at its main campus at 199 Chambers Street in lower Manhattan, including to its engineering plant, computer center, theaters,” adding, “Thankfully, Fiterman Hall was spared.”

Paul Rivera, who works for Buildings & Grounds at BMCC, said, “I’ve been at BMCC for 30 years and have never seen anything like this.”

“We had to drive through water to get out of the parking lot a couple blocks away,” he recalled. “When we got back to BMCC, the water was up to my calves. We had to wait for it to finish coming in, before we could do anything. We couldn’t open the doors inside the building till it stopped. When the water receded, we started pumping it out.”

BMCC administration reports that the school is currently fine, though some things will take longer to repair than others, including the carpets, which need to be torn up and windows that must be replaced. Overall though, no major structural damage to the college has been reported.

Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach was also, “very heavily impacted by flooding of its temporary buildings, academic center, cafeteria,” said Goldstein. “As we all know, the campus is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. Further assessments will be made as we work to help the college by the sea.”

Another campus to suffer water damage was Hunter College’s Brookdale campus, which lies a few blocks from Baruch on East 25th Street and First Avenue. The campus, which is home to many of Hunter’s allied health and physical therapy programs, faced extensive water damage, according to Goldstein.

Queens College suffered some structural damage to its roof from the heavy winds as well as several downed trees on the campus.

York College did not resume classes until Thursday, Nov. 8, and the college has had to relocate its faculty and staff from the departments of Health and Physical Education, Gerontological Studies and Athletics and Recreation to the Science Building until further notice.

Although Baruch College was without power for nearly a week, the college held up well, serving as an evacuation center for individuals living in Zone A.
Several other campuses also reported power outages and downed trees as a result of the storm.

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