URI greets Hurricane Sandy with massive preparations

Classes resume Wednesday, Oct. 31

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 31, 2012 — The University of Rhode Island took some heavy punches from Hurricane Sandy in the form of high winds and driving rains on Monday. But sunny skies greeted the Kingston campus Tuesday morning, and thanks to well-executed advance preparations, classes resumed Wednesday, Oct. 31.

“Sandy was a powerful storm, but the University’s extensive preparation paid off in all sectors of our campuses,” said President David M. Dooley. “Our Facilities Services crews did a fabulous job throughout the storm, keeping up with damaged trees, including one next to the President’s residence, downed limbs and other operations critical to the campus and a speedy return to normal operations.”

“I also want to thank our Dining Services, Housing and Residential Life and all of our public safety units for everything they did to prepare and to respond to the storm. Our students were in good hands throughout its duration,” Dooley added.

Following national standards established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the University established an Emergency Operations Center in the Ryan Center early Monday morning, which remained open until about 9 p.m. Monday. The Ryan Center and much of the Kingston campus never lost power, and the Center maintained full communications with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, university officials and campus response teams. The Center was operated by Shad Ahmed and Joshua Manfredo, of the University’s Emergency Management Office and their team, under the direction of Interim Director of Public Safety Maj. Stephen Baker. Other units represented were dining and housing, the Division of Administration and Finance, Campus Police and Communications and Marketing.

“I join the president in commending our entire team’s response to Hurricane Sandy,” said Robert A. Weygand, vice president for Administration and Finance. “I especially want to thank Jerry Sidio and his facilities staff who worked and continue to work on maintaining the campus and keeping it safe. Sandy was a massive storm, and Jerry and his staff excelled during a difficult time. The amount of preparation work really paid off. Getting an early start on this work was key to our success, and it shows all over the campus.”

Here’s a summary of the campus status as of noon on Tuesday.

Power Outages: While most of campus had power throughout the storm, several areas were awaiting restoration by National Grid, including Fraternity Circle, the Gateway Apartments, the Child Development Center, and several buildings along Upper College Rd. and the Emporium area.

Cleanup: The cleanup work is well underway, and crews are primarily dealing with wind-related damage, like blown down signs, tree damage to a balcony and window at Aldrich Hall, and doors at Hillside Hall and Fine Arts. The University doesn’t anticipate flooding damage.

Open: Dining Services, Health Services, the Memorial Union and the Carothers Library were all open on Tuesday and are fully operational today.