Superstorm Sandy arrived at Drew on Oct. 29. In addition to the destruction of over 50 trees on campus, Sandy also caused severe damage to a transformer behind the Foster Dormitory. This made power unavailable in the building, forcing Foster residents to relocate to Welch Hall.
Fortunately, these students were able to move back into Foster on Jan. 26. Executive Director of Facilities and Special Projects Mike Kopas shed some light on the process of reopening Foster. According to Kopas, “A new transformer was ordered immediately. With all of the damage done by Sandy, transformers were at a premium across the east coast. As a result, there was an extremely long lead time for delivery.”
Kopas and other Drew administrators feared the transformer would not arrive in time for the Spring semester. “We were at the mercy of the company supplying us with the transformer,” Kopas said. “All along, they stated that they would have it to us on time, so we remained cautiously optimistic. However, there was always the possibility for delays in shipping. I credit Jim Hall, who is the director of Capital Planning and Construction, for staying on top of the project and keeping it on schedule.”
“The transformer finally arrived at Drew on Wednesday, Jan. 23,” Kopas said. “We had a contractor prepared to immediately have it installed.” Drewids who had to make the move to Welch made the best out of the situation and are glad to be back in Foster. Melissa Marsico (’13) said, “I’m glad we are back in Foster and that the move did not happen during the new semester because that would have been a hassle. The move went smoothly. It was nice that they let us come in at 10 a.m. rather than noon like the rest of the campus.”
Student Government President Janelle Hoffman (’13), another resident of Foster, also gave her view of the experience. “Previously, it looked as if we would not be able to move back until the first or second weekend of February,” Hoffman stated. “We were very excited to hear that the schedule had been pushed up.”
“Moving to Welch was difficult at first,” she continued, “but I think we all grew to appreciate little things about living there, like the shorter walking distance to class. I also feel like it strengthened the friendships within my suite. We were thrown into a situation that none of us were initially thrilled about, but we made the best of it and became closer as a result.”
So despite the obvious inconvenience that Superstorm Sandy caused, the Drew community is picking up the pieces and starting fresh for the new semester.