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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Halloween eve flood damage to UH facilities 'unbelievable'

 •  Photo Gallery - Halloween Eve Flood
 •  Cloning, medical research hit hard by flooding at UH
 •  Manoa, UH assess flash flood's damage
 •  Librarians rush to salvage flood-damaged items
 •  Students in library fled floodwaters
 •  Homeowners insurance limited

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Halloween eve flood that swept through Manoa also soaked the University of Hawai'i athletic department, drenching offices and locker rooms, and forcing the shutdown of one gymnasium and the partial closure of the nearby 3,000-stall parking structure.

Workers and volunteers yesterday were busy cleaning damage at the UH athletic department. UH officials said no sporting events will be postponed, but practices will have to be rescheduled because of flood damage to the second-floor Gym 2.

"This is the worst I've ever seen," said Teri Wilhelm Chang, UH assistant athletic director for facilities, who has been at the university since 1979. "We've had heavy storms and rains — and leaks in the gym — but never like this. It's totally unbelievable."

Gov. Linda Lingle on Sunday signed a disaster proclamation making personal and commercial loans available from the state's major disaster fund after a flash flood topped the banks of Manoa Stream and washed away cars, damaged homes and made a mess of the UH campus.

The state's director of Civil Defense, Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, said the governor is also seeking federal assistance.

Chang said officials believed flood waters rushed through the upper campus, down the parking structure, across a third-floor access ramp and damaged several athletic facilities before flowing past the second-floor snack bar near the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.

Some of the athletic facilities hardest hit were:

• Gym 2 — the second-floor practice site of the UH men's and women's basketball teams — was drenched with a foot of water, mud and debris. The floor has begun to warp, and officials closed the gymnasium indefinitely for safety reasons.

• The women's locker room was damaged by a foot of water, mud and debris. Also soaked with mud and water was the Stan Sheriff Center's main hospitality room, the dance studios, the intramural sports office, kinesiology office, the UH marketing office and in-house Panda Travel agency.

• The football locker room, lecture hall, men's and women's training rooms and the Nagatani Academic Center all suffered water damage.

Chang said damage estimates are not complete, but she said two years ago the university replaced the wood floor at Gym 2 at a cost of more than $250,000.

"We're just concentrating on getting things safe and useable such as the locker room and gym," Chang said. "We're taking out carpets, getting them cleaned and sanitized."

Chang said ground-floor facilities such as the UH women's locker room and football locker room suffered ceiling damage, losing 80 and 50 percent of their ceiling tiles, respectively.

UH will host the Western Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Tournament this week, and athletes are scheduled to use the women's locker rooms. Yesterday, the locker room's roof was leaking and the runoff was being collected in buckets, Chang said.

UH sports information director Lois Manin said four arena sports — men's and women's basketball and men's and women's volleyball — will share the Stan Sheriff Center and Gym 1, which is on the 'ewa end of the athletic department, for practice this week.

"There's a shortage of practice gyms," Hawai'i women's volleyball coach Dave Shoji said. "There's going to be some adjustments made as far as practice time."

Officials also closed a section of the UH parking structure after lower levels were strewn with mud and debris. The parking structure is scheduled to reopen "no later than Wednesday" and the situation would not affect parking for Friday's women's volleyball match, UH spokesman Jim Manke said.

"In terms of the volleyball match, we don't anticipate a problem," Manke said. "They ran their regular cleaners through the structure, but (the debris) was still like molasses. The new part of the structure is OK, but the older part was apparently right in the direct path of the water."

Reach Brandon Masuoka at bmasuoka@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2458.