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|Project to repair ULM nursing building begins next month|
The University of Louisiana-Monroe is expected to begin a $3.5 million project in September to repair the university's nursing building.
It was damaged last year when Hurricane Gustav passed through northeast Louisiana.
Jason Roubique, ULM's Director of Facilities Management, said the nursing building project is the biggest construction endeavor taking place at the university over the next year.
It is expected repairs to the nursing building will be completed sometime in May 2010.
The project is being funded with money the university received from an insurance claim, Roubique said.
ULM recently completed another construction project to help prevent future flooding problems like what occurred during and in the wake of Gustav.
The university in June had 400 feet of seawall installed along Bayou DeSiard near the property of the University's Residence, or president's home.
ULM spent $124,895 for the seawall project, though Roubique expects a portion of the project will be reimbursed through FEMA since storm damage from Gustav caused a "significant amount of erosion at the project site."
"That area suffered some erosion and some of the bank was lost due to storm damage from Hurricane Gustav," Roubique said. "We want to prevent any additional erosion and make sure we don't lose any more land."
During Hurricane Gustav, the university lost six to 10 feet of the bank along the bayou due to erosion caused by the storm.
"This land loss posed a significant threat to our nearby facilities and required a retaining wall be built near the bayou bank," Roubique said. "We did notify FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers and the state. We worked with all of these agencies to develop an appropriate plan of corrective action to protect the university's land assets."
FEMA recommended the project and agreed to participate in the restoration and mitigation efforts, Roubique said.
Regarding the nursing building projects, Roubique said a "pretty good size of the School of Nursing suffered water infiltration with Gustav."
A large amount of water entered the building when a roof drain collapsed during the storm. The interior of the building suffered intensive water damage and numerous items had to be removed.
"We hope to start within a month to fix that damage," Roubique said.
While construction takes place, nursing students will be moved to other facilities until the project can be completed.
"This is one of the biggest ongoing projects for us right now," Roubique explained. "Our construction projects are more limited in part due to budget cuts, so we have to balance different needs, but still try to keep our facilities up.
"We request capital outlay funding from the state for major projects. We try to balance a lot of our needs with limited funds, and we do the best with the resources we have."
He said the majority of ULM's facilities are in good condition. Right now, construction projects at the university mostly involve minor repairs and renovations and "taking care of some odds and ends."
"All of our facilities are in good shape," Roubique continued. "I'm not saying our facilities are perfect, but we think they meet the needs of our faculty and staff. We do have projects ready to go if we get any additional money."