Hassled by high winds

Jinae West

Grounds crews face weeklong cleanup effort, tree removals

Bystanders inspect a fallen tree at the Commons near Taylor Hall. Gusts of up to 50 mph damaged 12 trees and caused a myriad of power outages Sunday night. Sam Twarek | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Sunday night’s strong winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ike left their mark on campus yesterday with fallen trees and broken windows in Eastway Center and Lake and Olson halls.

Grounds manager Heather White said the grounds crew has handled all of the downed trees and limbs since yesterday morning. High winds with gusts of up to 50 mph damaged 12 trees, which will be taken down with the help of a contractor.

“A lot of the cleanup we’ve started already, but we’re going to be at it for a few days,” she said. “You’ll see us out raking and shoveling and hauling.”

White said the damage was spread out around campus with downed trees and debris found in the area near the May 4 Memorial, Taylor Hall parking lot and Engleman Hall. Allerton Apartments were also affected. Two trees fell near Centennial courts and Tri-Towers; one tree was left leaning against Centennial Court E and will be removed with a crane today.

“The whole campus really got pushed around,” she said.

Glazier supervisor Mark Moscarello said 24 broken windows were reported. Eastway Center was the hardest hit with a few also in Lake and Olson halls. Moscarello said everything would be fixed by the end of the week, estimating it will cost a couple thousand in repairs.

“It’s really important when you know bad weather’s coming that students close their windows,” he said, explaining the cause of the problem. “No closed windows were broken.”

Henry Wooten, sophomore marketing major, said his window in Lake Hall was damaged and is now covered in plastic. His window was open at the time of the storm.

“It was just really windy,” Wooten said. “And you just heard (the window) shatter like when you’re a kid and you break something.”

But despite all of the damages, Kent State never lost power – unlike thousands of others in Portage County.

Frank Renovich, assistant director of energy, said this is because Kent State derives a large percentage of power from its power plant while the other percentage is imported from Ohio Edison – the same source of power for the rest of Portage County.

“The difference is based upon where we get our power,” he said. “We get it off the high voltage lines, so the trees won’t fall on them.

“There are different levels of electrical distribution. It’s about where we get our power and part of the fact we generate power.”

Renovich explained that Kent State’s rate of power consumption determines a higher voltage class, as opposed to a residence, which means a more robustly designed, shorter system and less impact during a storm.

“If you look at any large commercial areas like hospitals, they have the same kind of system,” he said. “I doubt the University of Akron lost their power.

“It’s about exposure,” he added. “You know, at home you have miles and miles of power lines 30 feet up in the air, and they’re more susceptible to damage.”

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jinae West at [email protected].