The Colgate Scene
September 2006

Campus, village flood

[Enlarge] [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

It was impossible to tell where Taylor Lake ended and where grass -- or even road -- began.

During storms that devastated areas around New York state in June, Hamilton endured heavy rains and resulting flash floods called the worst in decades. An overflowing Payne Creek rushed across town and through campus, nearly covering the Willow Path and Oak Drive bridges. Floodwaters caused the closing of not only portions of Route 12B, Oak Drive, College Street, and Hamilton Street, but also the New York State Thruway, Route 20, and Route 5.

On and around campus, low-lying basements were flooded. The outdoor playing fields and Seven Oaks Golf Course were submerged. At one point, for the first time in 30 years, Oak Drive became a two-way thoroughfare as the only route for entrance and exit.

With little or no damage to buildings on high ground, academic facilities were spared. But it happened to be the busiest week of the summer for the three overnight camps using lower-campus facilities.

To no one's surprise, the can-do Colgate spirit prevailed. Campus safety officers and buildings and grounds personnel canvassed the affected buildings, assisting with evacuation. They worked throughout the night to relocate 150 of 700 campers and about 30 of the Colgate students on campus for summer research.

While members of the buildings and grounds team drove to Utica to buy extra sump pumps and fans, the admission staff gave campus tours according to schedule. Prospective students and parents seemed to take the weather in stride.

"Colgate people did what they always do. They went the extra mile to ensure that our community was safe and that we could support the many students on campus," said Mark Spiro, vice president for administration, whose job it was to coordinate services, while assessing the damage and keeping construction moving on the Case Library and the Ho Science Center projects. Overall damage assessment and repairs continued throughout the summer.

There was even a bit of fun. When the 150 female basketball players associated with SuperCamp were evacuated from the university's College Street apartments, Sanford Field House became host to a huge slumber party.

The music campers barely missed a beat, nor was the All American Lacrosse Boys Camp much inconvenienced. More than a few musicians walked barefooted, each carrying an umbrella in one hand and an instrument in the other.

Top of page
Table of contents
<< Previous: Around the college Next: Sports >>