The Bell Tower Still Stands



The library roof may be gone, but the Bell Tower still stands.

Last night I awoke to the sound of wind and hail slamming against the windows.  It was a howling mass of chaos that kept me from immediately following back to sleep.  I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable and block out the noise of the storm.  Hours later I awoke around 5 a.m. to the sound of my phone ringing.  It was the UNK alert system notifying me that the library would be closed.  I was confused as it was early and I wasn’t all there yet.  I wondered if Mitchell Center would be open since it is connected to the library.  Hearing that the building had sustained substantial damage had me worrying about what my car would look like.  




The littered grounds by the library.


Trucks hauling away parts of the roof from the back of Mitchell and the library.

On my drive to campus all I really noticed was that trash had blown across lawns and even into the streets.  My first class was in West Center.  The only damage I really noticed was a large tree had had fallen limbs.  When I got past the Health and Sports Center I finally saw the damage.  The roof of the Fine Arts building was peeled back and caution tape roped off the ground below.  The library had several vehicles in the back, including the yellow water clean up vans.  Men were on the roof throwing pieces of the roof to a pile on the ground by the back door of Mitchell.  As I walked around to the front of the building I saw debris everywhere.  It was a mess.  The water, mud, insulation, and other parts of the roof lay scattered across the grounds leaving a murky feel just a few days after warm weather, sunshine, and the welcoming of summer.

When I walked into Mitchell I saw the sign on the library doors stating that the library was closed, but classes in Mitchell were still a go.  Through the glass windows in Mitchell that look into the library, I could see shelves of books wrapped in plastic on the second floor.  I later learned from Dr. Hogg that the books were being taken to CashWay where they would try freeze drying them.  How crazy is that?  It’s such a blessing to have community members and businesses so willing to help!  


The library roof missing.

Dr. Hogg also informed us that we should watch for emails as classes could be cancelled as further assessments are made.  There was even mention of the library being condemned.  

When i heard that the radio station was damaged I went with Laura to take a look.  I saw radio equipment wrapped in plastic below spots where water had seemed through the ceiling tiles.  In one room there were buckets sitting on the tables.  That same side of the building was without power.  Walking by offices, some professors had to run extension cords into their office to light a lamp so they could work.


Professor’s office lit by lamp.


Radio station equipment covered in plastic.

 As I was outside taking pictures of the damage for this assignment I was also being stalked by the news crew that was sitting inside the library doors.  I answered a few questions about my morning and initial assessments and how I felt about the library being closed this close to finals.  Before that moment it hadn’t occurred to me just how long it would take to reopen or the inconvenience not having a functioning library could be for students as they prepare for finals and need to utilize services like tutoring or the writing center or simply need a place to study or work on group projects.




Think of all the people that helped/will help clean up and renovate the buildings and grounds.

Hearing about the roof problems and water leaking in reminded me of a little fiasco we had at my house a few years back.  My family decided to reshingle our own house.  It’s a three story house with a rather steep roof.  The first day they got as far as putting the new plywood up, minus a few sheets before it got dark.  They tried to finish but the wind picked up and actually blew a piece of plywood from the roof right through the dining room window.  They didn’t feel it was safe to continue and what do you know a storm was coming.  We tried to tie down plastic, but the rain came in anyway.  We then called professionals to come finish the shingling, but then we got to tear drywall out of three rooms, put new up, and paint.  I bet the campus renovations will be just as much fun!


2 thoughts on “The Bell Tower Still Stands

  1. I liked that you tied in your story of your family’s house with this. I’ve been lucky enough to not have experienced storms quite that bad. I wonder if they aired your interview?!? It would have been fun to watch 🙂 Good pictures! It was fun exploring a little bit with you that day.

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