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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Campus

SC Satellite to reopen following Harvey repairs


The Student Center Satellite is projected to reopen Monday, Sept. 18. | Nola Valente/The Cougar

The Student Center Satellite, which closed for repairs following flood damage sustained during Hurricane Harvey, is set to reopen Monday, Sept. 18.

“90 percent of the food court will be operational in the next two weeks — Smoothie King may be delayed,”  UH spokesperson Mike Rosen said in an email.

There will be continuous repairs throughout Fall 2017, even after the reopening, Rosen said.

“The Billiards/Game room area and the administrative/storage areas should be completed in mid-October,” Rosen said. “The Student lounge will not open until after the 2017 winter break.”

There will be ongoing drying equipment in the building through Sept. 22nd, until the final testing approval by Environmental Health & Life Safety, Rosen said.

The satellite accounts for approximately 14 percent of retail sales, Rosen said, and concerns for affected businesses led Chartwells, the University’s new dining services provider, to reassign employees to other locations for the duration of the repairs.

“Not surprising considering the volume of rain and the fact it is below ground,” said David Oliver, vice president for Facilities.

The water entered through the doors of the underground building, Oliver said.

“The sump pumps couldn’t keep up with the volume of water and it flooded the facility.” Oliver said.

The flood affected members of the UH community in various ways, forcing many out of their routines.

“I had to adjust my schedule for the extra ten minute walk to the Student Center or library for food and study sessions.” said pharmacy graduate student Abin Thomas.

The University is running lunch rush hour smoothly by increasing awareness of the food truck program, Rosen said. With food trucks stationed throughout campus, a variety of options are available to students and faculty.

Rosen said this has successfully alleviated traffic in the Student Center, allowing everyone on campus to get through lines quicker.

Some students did not expect the closure and were surprised to find the spot closed.

“I had just got off work and was planning on getting a smoothie from Smoothie King before class,” said advertising junior Dominic Barrientez. “I went to the Satellite and I didn’t know it was closed.”

Rosen said that although physical damage was fairly extensive, the monetary value of the damage is unknown.

Students remain patient as they wait to recover their favorite hang-out.

“It’s always been part of my routine to meet classmates at the UC for a quick review before an exam,” said pharmacy graduate student Temi Ayeni. “It’s sad to see what Harvey left behind, but I’m glad it won’t take very long to reopen.”

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