Post Classifieds

$55,000 in damages after celebrations

By Julia Werth
On April 10, 2014

  • ALEX SFERRAZZA/The Daily Campus. Students occupied trees in the riots after the men’s championship win. Branches were felled off of m

The price of two national titles is estimated at $55,000, at least in terms of damages to the University of Connecticut Storrs campus said Stephanie Reitz, the spokesperson for UConn.
The men's and women's Final Four and championship victories resulted in broken light poles, smashed windows, a broken water fountain, a few rubbish fires, a missing stop sign and a lot of trampled grass and shrubbery.
"A good part of the damage we had was just the result of putting 15,000 people in a small area," said Michael Jednak, associate vice president for Facilities Operations and Building Services.
Approximately half of the damage costs are for landscaping. The damaged shrubbery will need to be replaced and all the grass in and around Fairfield Way will need to be removed and fresh sod will be put in Jednak said.
Due to the enormous crowds that flooded Gampel Pavilion on game nights, a lot of facilities efforts have not been on repairs but on simply cleaning up the mess that the thousands of students who were shut out of Gampel caused.
"Much of it was the kind of damage that just needs to be cleaned, like tables and chairs being put back in the right place," Reitz said.
UConn's campus, however, wasn't the only thing impacted by the post-game celebrations. On Monday night alone the UConn Fire Department responded to 37 medical calls, according to Lieutenant Heidi Vaughan.
"The calls ranged from alcohol related to lacerations caused by broken glass and we had one student trampled and one pedestrian hit by a car across from North Garage," Vaughan said.
The fire department, however, was well prepared for the evening with 25 personnel including the two chiefs and the fire Marshall, three of their own ambulances as well as 11 mutual aid ambulances that were ready and waiting during the extent of the event and aftermath.
"We were well prepared and well-staffed but it is still a challenge, you don't know what's going to happen," Vaughan said.
The surprise with Monday night's event was the number of calls received before and during the game. There were eight medical calls to Gampel itself.
"The throwing up was crazy," Vaughan said.
The student celebrations died down around 2 a.m. While the fire department was able to let most of their staff go at this point, the facilities crew was really just beginning their work.
"The crew did a fantastic job," Jednak said. "We closed the classrooms at 2 a.m. and were able to have classes in the morning."
Between 30 and 40 facilites crew workers were staffing the game and began the initial clean up. Early in the morning after each victory 20 to 30 more workers came in to make campus look as though nothing had happened.
"I got to campus at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and by the way campus looked I wouldn't have even known there was a game," Jednak said.
Reitz and Jednak have both said that, for the most part, they felt that students conducted themselves quite well, allowing damages and injuries to be kept to a minimum.
"We thought people were being very compliant with the officers. They were being very responsible and trying to be safe," Reitz said.
The worst destructions that catch everyone's eye, like the uprooted light pole and the smashed glass window of ITE, were not caused by the thousands of students but only a small minority.
"A small handful of students caused a little bit more of vandal type issues - broken windows and one light pole," Jednak said.
Across the board, from the fire department to facilities to the university administration, the four nights of celebrations did not cause nearly as much damage or injuries as was anticipated.
"It was messy but there wasn't a lot of vandalism," Jednak said. "For how big the weekend was, I am very pleased with how campus looks today."

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