Duns Scotus Rehabilitation: How a Blizzard Impacted the Entire University

By Cameron Enders

On Dec. 26 of last year, a pipe burst on the third floor of Duns Scotus flooding several classrooms, offices, and the bookstore. 

The damages to the building were so severe due to the emergency response teams being unable to make it to campus because of the ongoing snowstorm. Most roads were already closed down due to the weather and there were not enough employees on campus to lessen the damage. 

It wasn’t until a few days later that employees were able to make it onto campus to assess and prevent further damages. 

This caused significant damages to the floors and ceiling tiles of the floors below, resulting in the start date of classes to be pushed back a week. Even with this delay, more repairs were required, so the entire left wing of the first and second floors of Duns Scotus and the bookstore are still shut down.

Inside of the bookstore showing the water damage that came from the ceiling. Water was covering some of the floor and broken ceiling tiles littering the floor. Photo by Daemen University.

President Olson explained in a letter to campus back in December that, “Older buildings potentially contain asbestos, and we want to ensure that abatement is done safely.” 

While the university has the ability to safely abate the affected rooms with students and faculty, it decided to put campus safety over speed. 

A second round of abatement during the spring holiday took place in order to further ensure the health and safety of the campus community. 

This proved Daemen’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of everyone on campus, instead of rushing the rehabilitation to open classrooms quicker. 

Severe water damage to carpeting, furniture, and ceiling tiles coupled with the short timeframe to prepare the building for students lead the university to line the side of Duns Scotus with four large storage containers. 

This allowed for quicker removal of the heavy furniture that needed to be replaced, but took away several parking spots in Lot B. 

Yet the additional parking lots built off of Getzville Road last summer offset the loss of a few parking spaces.

Another loss to the university comes in the form of electronics that were located in the offices and classrooms affected by the water damage. 

However, the losses seem to be minimal with Patrick Ryan, the university IT Specialist in charge of recovering the electronics, saying “70% of technology from offices are still usable.” 

Most of this recovery happened only recently due to the fact that all items from the affected offices were not packed separately because of the time constraint.
According to Ryan, “The university was still required to replace most of the technology needed by professors before their old equipment was checked for damages since the faculty needed their electronics immediately, and there was no guarantee their old equipment would function.”  

Another major impact on campus was several classes and important offices needing to move locations. 

The university created several signs around Duns Scotus directing students as to where offices have been relocated, and the most up to date guide comes from Dr. Nayor’s 8th update email [1/31/2023 – Update #8: DS Rehabilitation].

I personally checked the office locations listed on the pdf and found two areas that require clarification. 

First, the Bursar office that is located in the Graduate Resource Center on the RIC third floor is the Student Accounts office. 

Also, Professor Hall’s office is located in Duns Scotus 339, while the math department offices are located in Duns Scotus 341.   

According to Dr. Greg Nayor, Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiative, the process of moving class locations and offices was “Absolutely horrible. It was a lot of logistics involved. First and foremost, it [Duns Scotus] is our main building that has most of our classes, most of our space in it.”

The university was still able to get itself back on track for the start of the semester with all classes getting a new room, and offices being moved into various places in the Research and Information Commons. 

 Professors were given adequate warning that they would need to change lesson plans to accommodate the late start. 

Dr. Nayor also said, “I feel relatively confident two weeks after spring break we will be able to reopen classrooms on the second floor. The bookstore and the business office will probably come back online in June. I would say we would be completely done with the renovations by June [a couple weeks after graduation].”

This was said on March eight and as of the publication date of this article no classrooms have been opened on any of the floors. 

In an email Dr. Nayor told me, “We are slowly making our way through. I expect some offices will be ready to be re-opened shortly. Some not until this summer.” 

It appears the former timeline has changed, but what hasn’t is the fact that the campus will not return to how it was during the fall semester until this summer. 

Freshman coming in next semester should be getting to experience a completed Daemen campus, unless another unexpected situation pops up. 

Current students and faculty returning next semester will no longer have to deal with changing classrooms and hunting down offices.

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