When Tim Aegerter saw his neighbor loading his fifth-wheeler and leaving his Turner neighborhood at 2:30 this morning, he thought nothing of it. But as the rain progressed throughout the morning, he realized, “No, it’s the weather.”
Aegerter and his ex-wife Lorie Bays, along with their daughter and three grand-daughters Charity, Eliza and Isabella, were among the first of 25 evacuees from Turner who arrived at Corban’s gym around noon on Jan. 19, 2012.
When flood waters in Turner, 4 miles away from campus, rose too high after the levy broke around 9 a.m. this morning, Turner residents were forced to evacuate. The city manager asked Corban if they would house evacuees. Corban opened the doors of the gym to concerned families and children.
Bays said that the water came so fast. Early in the morning, it was only an inch deep, but by the time the levy broke, it was up to their doorstep.
“They didn’t give everyone a fair warning,” Bays said.
By the time the waters reached their door, emergency vehicles were the only ones who able to get in or out of town. Aegerter and Bays planned on just retreating to their upstairs rooms, but they were able to evacuate safely.
The Corban gym became the evacuation point for Turner residents because of its close location and amount of space, according to Head of Security, Seth Elliot. The entire gym floor was covered in plastic and chairs in anticipation of more people.
Although the family does not know what kind of state their home will be in when they return, they were sure to put their valuable possessions up high and secure what they could.
”We’re still thinking of it as an adventure,” said Aegerter. “Material things can always be replaced,”
Although Elliot and gym manager Donny Zavala anticipated that the evacuees would be staying for 48 hours, the Red Cross consolidated their emergency locations so that all evacuees would be in Aumsville.
Meanwhile, on Corban’s lower campus, flood waters began to consume the room across from the entrance on the first floor of the library as well as the music, Alumni and Adult Degree Program buildings. The water built up in the ground behind the faculty offices on the third floor, causing the damages.
Logan Graham, a sophomore library student worker, arrived at 7:40 a.m. to find that nearly 30 feet from the front desk was a large pool of water. “There was standing water from the first elevator (across from the POD) then a lake all the way to the stacks.”
The POD was not affected by the water. Brian Schmidt, Chief Information Officer, first discovered the large holding of water at 6:45 a.m. Over 60,000 books were in potential danger, only a dozen were thrown out and about two dozen are still drying out.
“We’re lucky more books weren’t destroyed,” said Floyd Botaw, Library Director.
The water created a “tabletop” in the basement (first floor of the library), pushing against the walls, and nearly 12 feet below the faculty offices of the third floor. Two to three inches of water was pushed out of the library with squeegees, carpet extractors, dryers and vacuums. During the course of the day, workers dug a trench and installed a pipe behind the third floor entrance of the Academic Center to help with future drainage and to remove standing water.
“We were just pushing water down the elevator shaft as fast as we could,” Brian Schmidt, head over the library. “We extracted water, improved drainage wit h a pipe and now the carpets are drying.” The tunnels provide an elaborate drainage system and were able to hold the water.
The library hopes the carpets will not need to be replaced, but the damage will be evaluated over the next few days. While the building does have insurance, Schmidt is not sure what the company will cover or what Corban will ask them to cover.
The library flooded 7 years ago on Jan. 3, 2006. The flooding was caused by a busted pipe in the amphitheater, which resulted in standing water behind the faculty offices.
“We really thought we would never have to see this again,” said Schmidt.
Other places on campus that received a lot of water included the baseball parking lot, the baseball, softball and soccer fields, and a few other parking lots. “We were concerned not only about the water on campus, but the roads coming to campus,” said Schimdt. “We want to make sure our buildings, roads, and students are safe.”
Two campus care workers will stay overnight tonight to watch the water on campus as the river and flood waters are expected to peak around 10 p.m. Night security has also been given some instructions on areas to check frequently for water damage and overflow.