Hurricane causes only minor damages

Hurricane Irene spared both campuses critical damage but left a path of toppled trees, forcing the University to shut down Gelman Library Sunday when one tree collapsed into the building.

Thousands of students opted to move in Friday, amid showers, after the University opened residence halls early in anticipation of Irene. About 3,000 students moved in early Friday, while another 1,000 returned to GW Saturday, director of housing Seth Weinshel said. Typically, about 4,000 students move in to their residence halls the Saturday before classes begin.

“It has certainly made move in interesting and challenging,” Weinshel said, referring to the hurricane and last week’s 5.9-magnitude earthquake.

Weinshel said, to prepare for the unexpected early opening, his department rushed to organize parking meter buyouts, professional staff and 1,200 volunteers.

“The team did a phenomenal job of making it happen,” he said.

Several dozen students contacted the University to report late arrivals after Irene twisted their transportation plans, Weinshel said. As of midday Saturday, 500 to 800 students had not yet moved in.

The tree Irene forced down against Gelman rested on the building but did not cause severe structural damage. University spokesperson Michelle Sherrard said the library will re-open Monday at 7 a.m.

A pipe burst in the sophomore residence hall Dakota, dampening the floors of a 9th floor room. Sherrard said she had no further details on what prompted the pipe to burst and when the University expects to resolve the issue.

Amy Thompson, who now lives in a room with a sodden carpet, said she and her roommates called the FIXit emergency line, but the only response she received from University officials was that the entire building was affected.

Sherrard said the Mount Vernon Campus did not see any damage from the storm, and Pepco power company spokesman Bob Hainey said there were no outages.

Andrea Vittorio contributed to this report.
This article was updated on Aug. 29, 2011 to reflect the following:
This article originally stated that University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment on the pipe burst. Actually, she was just unable to provide updates on the building by the time The Hatchet went to print.

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