Message from Houston Baptist University President Robert Sloan:
Monday Afternoon Update:
As most of you are aware by now, Hurricane Ike roared through Houston in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 13, with Houston Baptist University in its destructive path.
Early damage estimates range from 8 to 10 million dollars, although that figure is expected to rise as building and infrastructure inspections continue throughout the coming weeks. More importantly, approximately 60 HBU students and emergency personnel who took shelter on the campus during the storm escaped unharmed. No reports of injuries to HBU students, faculty or staff, on campus or off, have been received.
When we count our blessings, the safety of our HBU family is definitely at the top of the list. Our campus can be rebuilt and repaired, but I think we all walked away from this experience with a greater appreciation for the everyday blessings of God.
The campus has suffered significant wind and water damage to a number of buildings, but hardest hit were the M.D. Anderson Student Center, a longtime favorite gathering place for students, and the Brown Administrative Complex. The Student Center housing a campus eatery and coffee shop, Husky Central admissions offices, Spiritual Life and Student Life offices, our band hall, and the University Bookstore; our television studio; and offices in the Brown Administrative Complex have all suffered significant wind, water and structural damage. A number of classrooms in other buildings suffered some wind and water damage. Uprooted trees and broken limbs are scattered across the campus landscape.
Students and personnel who took refuge on campus have been without power since the storm. Emergency generators along with the dedication of Aramark Food Service personnel have ensured that students were well-fed during the storm. Representatives from HBU’s police department and student life staff have shown tremendous dedication staying with our students. Sue and I also remained on campus during the storm, and visit with our students each day to show our support and concern for them.
As of Monday afternoon power had not been restored to campus. Classes for Monday and Tuesday have been canceled, with further updates being posted on the University website at www.hbu.edu. HBU’s emergency alert system has also been utilized numerous times during the crisis. Even the social networking site Facebook, popular with students, has been utilized to communicate campus status.
This is a significant event in the life of HBU. We will work together to rebuild our campus and to resume classes as soon as it is safely possible. We urge HBU alumni and our friends across the country to include Houston Baptist University and all those affected by this event in your prayers. We have also added a link to our homepage for those of you who would like to contribute to our efforts as we work to rebuild and repair our campus. Donations may be made online or by mail.
We are in close contact with state and local officials so as to monitor developments. Please continue to watch our website for updates as we continue to lift up in prayer all those impacted by this storm.