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Nov. 8, 2012

Hurricane batters Fenn Tower, displaces students

By By Matt Stafford

As Cleveland remained battered from Hurricane Sandy, many commuters found themselves unable to attend classes, and residents of Fenn Tower got hit hard by water damage.

When the storm picked up on the night of Oct. 29, residents on the upper floors of Fenn experienced a swaying sensation.

Some of the residents, especially on the 19th floor, ended up relocating to lounges or friends’ rooms. Many were frightened, but the building is designed to sway to accommodate high winds and ensure the building doesn’t take structural damage.

Swaying was the first problem Fenn had.Many rooms on the north side had significant water damage.

“This was because the wind was blowing water towards the north side,” said Joe Mosbrook, director of Strategic Communications. “We’ve had to relocate about 30 students now.”

One of the relocated students was Mike McDonald.

“I woke up to find out half my room and closet was a big puddle,” he said on his Facebook page. “Outside our room, the ceiling collapsed, and the room next to us was condemned since it was damaged so bad.”

Brian Suiter, another student on the 15th floor, recounted the scene.

“The 15th floor looked like a war zone,” he said. “There was water everywhere. Paint was peeling off. It was a giant mess.”

Other students reported losing power after water seeped into light fixtures and caused short circuits.

The lower floors weren’t much better.

The third floor game room had multiple leaks, and the vents were shut down because of water leaks from the windows.

The maintenance offices in the basement were flooded, though the laundry room was fine.

The storm continued to rage on the next day.

Many residential students stayed home, fearful of what might happen if they went out.
Commuters found themselves unable to come to school.

Many had children who were staying home on account of school closures. Others just didn’t want to risk driving in stormy weather.

Cleveland State’s West Campus was closed. However, the main campus remained open.
Mosbrook said it was open because it was still functioning.

However, professors were ordered to not count any absences against students who decided against braving the storm.

On Oct. 31, the storm was over, and cleanup commenced.

Dehumidifiers and fans were put in rooms that had leaks to dry out the carpet and prevent mold from forming.

For some, it worked. Others weren’t so lucky.

Many had to relocate between Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Some stayed at local hotels.Others went to their homes or stayed with local family and friends and got reimbursed $50 for each night they were unable to stay in the dorms. Some went to stay in the rooms of RAs.

According to a memo sent by Residence Life, cleanup is going faster than expected, and most students will return by the end of the week.