Severe thunderstorm floods LAC basement

Photo courtesy of Juneann Greco

Photo courtesy of Juneann Greco

Rachel Looker, Editor-in-Chief

When the ceiling tile above Public Relations Director Juneann Greco’s desk collapsed, she knew this storm was different than any that had crossed the area before.

On Monday, July 26, around 4:30 p.m., a severe thunderstorm hit Lackawanna County. The storm brought heavy rains that caused flooding in the basement of the Liberal Arts Center and leaks throughout the basement offices.

According to Wendy Yankelitis, assistant vice president for Buildings and Grounds, “what really caused the flood is that the rain came down in such a large amount in such a short period of time.”

Yankelitis said that the terrace levels of the Liberal Arts Center, Regina Hall and Immaculata Hall were affected by the flood. According to Yankelitis, the majority of the damage from the flooding is to carpeting and this damage is covered under the university’s insurance.

“I don’t know if anyone knew how strong that storm was going to be,” said Greco. “We had rain before and were in the basement, and we never really had a problem.”

Greco was sitting at her desk when she heard heavy rain banging against her window. As she was asking if anyone else heard the unusually strong-sounding rain, the ceiling tile above her desk collapsed. Greco said a few moments later, another ceiling tile in her office collapsed.

“With that, I went outside and the water was pouring out from around the light outside my office,” said Greco.

According to Greco, one of the conference rooms in the Marketing & Communications basement office was flooded with water deep enough to cover her foot. Greco said the area in front of the Social Work offices also flooded in addition to the Office of Marketing and Communication.

Insurance adjusters inspected the offices on Tuesday, July 26.

“For safety purposes, the carpeting all has to be removed because it [the water] was coming out of ductwork,” said Greco.

Luckily, Greco said she doesn’t believe any of her equipment was damaged.

As the offices were flooding, everyone helped carry computers and other electronics out of the offices and were directed by Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed. D., president of Marywood, to place them in a conference area in the president’s office.

According to Yankelitis, remediation companies have been brought in to the university to clean up the water damage.

“A majority of the cost is covered by insurance itself,” Yankelitis said. “Our goal is to have everything back in place by the end of August.”

Photo courtesy of Juneann Greco
Photo courtesy of Juneann Greco

Jessica Bonacci contributed to this article.
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