Delta Music Institute moving forward after flood

Delta State University’s Delta Music Institute continues to recover following serious flooding in the DMI’s Whitfield Building on Nov. 30.

Steven McClellan, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer at Delta State, said the cause of the water damage was a ruptured old chilled water line that serviced an air handler on the east side of Whitfield.

This line was on top of a rooftop air handler located directly above the DMI offices.  Since it ruptured above the air handler, instead of dripping directly down from one floor to the next, the water was somewhat blown through the air ducts throughout most of the area.

“The total dollar amount of damage to university and personal property is unknown at this time and will not be known until everything dries,” said McClellan. “At that time we can measure the permanent damage to items like office equipment, desks, carpets, walls, hardwood floors, as well as guitars and other personal collections.”

President William N. LaForge, who was on site Friday along with First Lady Nancy LaForge to help with cleanup efforts, said arriving on scene was shocking.

“The water damage to the front of the DMI building is terrible. Files, equipment, furniture, carpeting, books — nearly everything in the front offices of DMI — were effected,” said LaForge.

“Some items are salvageable and some are not. Fortunately none of the main area of the DMI, including the studios, was flooded,” added LaForge. “I commend our DMI professionals for their resilience and good spirit in dealing with the ‘DMI Flood of 2013,’ and I salute our Facilities Management professionals for their quick and effective work in responding to the crisis.”

“The staff in Facility Maintenance do a great job keeping our mechanical systems working to the best of their ability considering the inadequate funding we have available,” said McClellan. “This requires taking a pretty exhaustive list of deferred maintenance items and making an educated guess at which are the most likely to provide the most problems and address those that we can with available funding.”

Delta State has a plan coordinated with DMI Director Tricia Walker to develop short and long term solutions when reassessment of the damage is completed this week.

“Resolving this goes way beyond the situation at DMI and includes finding ongoing and adequate funding to maintain all of our facilities in a responsible manner,” he added. “The incident at DMI is just one of many such situations waiting to happen on our campus. We will work with state officials and members of the Legislature after the new year to try and identify a funding mechanism for these types of ‘Repair and Renovation’ needs.”

While recovery will take some time, Walker said she’s remaining as positive as possible and the semester’s last week of classes are going on as scheduled, just in makeshift environments.

“We’re sad to lose some items, but there are many things to be thankful for,” said Walker. “I would like to thank the Delta State Facilities Management crew for their hard work and the Office of Information Technology for their innovation in getting us through these first few days.

“We have lots of work ahead and we’ll be taking it one day at a time.”

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