Indiana University Northwest announced Monday afternoon that the Gary campus would remain closed through Sunday, Sept. 28, as cleanup from last week’s flood continues. All classes, events and activities on the IU Northwest campus have been suspended for the remainder of this week. The campus is expected to reopen on Monday, Sept. 29.
The Academic Learning Center in Merrillville remains open, and the Portage Instructional Site, which had been closed last week and Monday, was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Students with classes at both of these off-campus sites should expect to meet at the regular time this week unless otherwise notified by their instructors.
Because the IU Northwest Child Care Center is located on the south side of 35th Avenue and was not at all affected by rain damage or flooding, the facility will be open this week. Parents may drop off and pick up their children directly at the Center but are not permitted to enter other campus areas that were affected by the flooding. The IU Credit Union, meanwhile, will remain closed throughout this week.
Until the university reopens, IU Northwest officials have asked that no one, other than essential personnel involved in the cleanup and restoration effort, enter the campus grounds. This is a precautionary measure intended to safeguard the health and safety of the campus community. The floodwaters that overswept the campus grounds, walkways, parking areas and access roads last week may have contained some bacterial contaminants of the type found in the Little Calumet River and the City of Gary storm drains, where much of the campus foodwater originated. As a safety precaution, IU Northwest asks that non-essential personnel remain off campus until the cleanup is complete and normal operations resume.
As of Monday afternoon, water remained in main parking lots 1 and 2, located on the north side of campus, and persistent flooding continued in the courtyard between Tamarack Hall and the Moraine Student Center. The campus was still taking on water from several of its storm drains on Monday.
A number of campus buildings were directly impacted by floodwater, but in most cases the flooding was limited to the buildings’ mechanical rooms and crawl spaces. These buildings included: the Savannah Center; the Moraine Student Center; Tamarack Hall; Raintree Hall; the Library Conference Center; Lindenwood Hall; Sycamore Hall; and the old Child Care Center located behind Lindenwood.
More substantial flooding occurred in Theatre Northwest, which is located in Tamarack; there, water flooded a portion of the seating area. A few academic offices in Marram Hall had wet carpets due to rain, but those carpets have since been dried and cleaned. Printing Services, located on the ground floor of Sycamore, also took on some water, but that office has since dried out and is being cleaned and sanitized.
Contractors are currently working on campus to clean, dry out and sanitize flood-affected areas, and to evaluate and assess other areas that are currently inaccessible due to water. Once the flooding recedes, the cleanup will move forward in those areas.
While campus operations have been suspended, a number of faculty members have used the Oncourse system to continue their classes electronically. Some non-Oncourse faculty have used other Internet resources to stay in touch with their students and assign and evaluate work during the university’s down time. Still other professors have arranged for off-campus meetings with their classes. IU Northwest recognizes and appreciates the efforts of these faculty members to maintain academic momentum during these challenging events on campus.
Despite these efforts, the Office of Academic Affairs is planning a strategy that will allow all classes to recoup the entire two weeks of lost instruction time. That time may be made up in several ways: extended class times; additional class periods, such as Fridays, a day when most classes do not meet; carefully selected additional homework assignments that may be communicated to students either before the campus reopens or immediately thereafter; or Oncourse and email instruction. The university encourages all deans, directors and department chairs to work with their faculty to use one or a combination of reasonable approaches to make up for lost time.
Campus officials will work with deans to accommodate any faculty members who must meet with a class before next Monday, as long as the professors can bring these students together. Such meetings would probably take place at the Portage Instructional Site. Students enrolled in the Weekend MBA for Professionals program through the School of Business and Economics should contact program coordinator John Gibson at (219) 980-6635 for more information on the Saturday class that is scheduled for Sept. 27.
The financial aid refund period has been extended until the campus returns to normal operations. Students may reference the Bursar’s Web site at http://www.iun.edu/bursar/ for information on the refund timeline.
IU Northwest students, faculty and staff are encouraged to regularly monitor campus email and the university home page for additional information. Voice and text messages also will be sent through IU Notify. Students should also check on the status of classes or coursework through Oncourse or on their professors’ departmental home pages.
IU Northwest regrets any inconvenience that these cancellations may cause our students, our faculty and staff, or members of the community. We appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we work to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.