Monday, April 6

Officials examine buildings as UCLA dries


UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said at a Wednesday press conference it is unclear how much money Tuesday's flood will cost UCLA. (Brandon Choe/Daily Bruin)


UCLA workers and contractors are continuing to remove water and clear debris from areas affected by Tuesday’s flood, although officials say the water will not be cleared before Friday.

Workers are using large blowers to dry out the buildings and are pumping standing water from Parking Structures 4 and 7, said Kelly Schmader, assistant vice chancellor for facilities management at a press conference Wednesday.

About 900 vehicles are estimated to be stuck in the parking structures, based on the structures’ online registration systems, Schmader said. About 400 of those vehicles are believed to be submerged under water.

At least 739 vehicles are known to be trapped, with about 388 of them belonging to students and 293 to staff.

Jack Powazek, administrative vice chancellor for UCLA General Services, said at the press conference Wednesday that no one will be allowed to drive their cars outside from the lots. Cars in the structures will be towed later this week for a pick-up, although it will not be done at least until Friday, Powazek said.

He added that he is not sure how drivers will be reimbursed for the damages, but UCLA has asked owners of cars in the structure to call their own insurance agencies. Powazek said UCLA will inform owners of their car’s status within 48 hours.

There are still about 3 to 4 feet of water in the lower level of parking structures 4 and 7, Schmader said at the press conference. Outside contractors and UCLA staff are moving water out at 4,000 gallons a minute, he added.

However, there may be an increase in the carbon monoxide concentration in the parking structures due to fumes from the pumping equipment, Schmader said.

Addressing whether damage from the flood may lead to an increase in student fees, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said at Wednesday’s conference that the full financial cost of the damage is unclear and that UCLA is sensitive to students’ needs. He added he was thankful that no one was injured at the scene.

Block said the Pauley Pavilion floor is drying out, although experts have to examine the damage and see whether the floor can host athletic matches. Powazek said the 2014 Teen Choice Awards originally scheduled for Aug. 10 at Pauley is cancelled and said he is not sure about an alternative plan for the event.

In the worst case scenario, Schmader said the floor at Pauley may not be salvaged and may have to be replaced. Pauley just underwent a $136 million renovation in Oct. 2012, which brought a new court among other changes.

The John Wooden Center has seen water damage as well as power outages, Powazek said. Because the center also has a wooden floor like Pauley Pavilion, the floor may have to be replaced, he added.

The Ashe Center’s power has been restored within the last hour and the center should start operating again soon, Powazek said.

Parking Structures 4 and 7 together have about 3,600 spaces, about 15 percent of UCLA’s parking capacity, he added.

Though the amount of water that came in Tuesday was massive, the water itself is not poisonous or tepid, Schmader said.

Officials said they will assess the total damage after the buildings have been dried and the debris has been removed.

Physicians from the Ashe Center are available in Bruin Plaza and in the Ronald Reagan Medical Center to treat students. The John Wooden Center, Drake Stadium and Intramural Field have been closed and all recreation classes and programs have been cancelled, according to a statement from UCLA Recreation.

Compiled by Jeong Park and Chandini Soni, Bruin senior staff.


Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.