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UMFK WORKING TO RESTORE NORMAL CAMPUS OPERATIONS

May 1, 2008

NR08039

Officials at the University of Maine at Fort Kent continue to work toward a weekend restoration of normal campus office and residential life operations following the worst flooding ever seen in the St. John Valley. 

Flooding conditions continue in the basement of the campus’ Cyr Hall office/classroom building.  Water pumps are maintaining the water level at 17 to 24 inches.  It is anticipated that as levels in the Fish River recede, power can be restored to Cyr Hall this weekend. Power was disconnected in the building on Wednesday for safety reasons in the buildings.  

Flooding also is evident in the basement of one of the campus’ student housing halls, Crocker Hall, and in the basement of the Waneta T. Blake Library.

Electrical service was restored earlier today to Nadeau Hall, which is adjacent to Cyr Hall, as flooding conditions there abated.

As a result of the power interruption at the University’s switchboard, telephone communication to the University was lost for several hours yesterday.  Campus Information Services staff restored phone service this morning. Cellular phone coverage in the St. John Valley continues to be unreliable at this time.

An emergency line – (207) 974-1494 – has been established to connect students, faculty and staff to the UMFK campus-based emergency command center in Blake Library.

Classes at UMFK are cancelled for the remainder of the week and are scheduled to resume on Monday. Regular classes will be held on Monday and Tuesday, May 5 and 6. Final exams will be condensed into three days: Wednesday, May 7, Thursday, May 8, and Friday, May 9. An exams schedule was posted on the UMFK website this afternoon. 

The University’s 126th Commencement exercises will be held, as planned, on Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. in the University’s Sports Center. 

The approximately 85 students who were transported to Presque Isle yesterday afternoon for temporary quarters at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and at Northern Maine Community College all have been providing with beds, meals, internet access, and library and recreational opportunities.  

“Special thanks to our friends and colleague presidents Tim Crowley at NMCC and Don Zillman at UMPI for their enthusiastic response to support our students,” said UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost.  

The lack of showers and other sanitary facilities that prompted yesterday’s evacuation are expected to improve dramatically over the weekend, and plans are underway to return those students to Fort Kent on Sunday evening. 

The University is following its emergency response plan in keeping with the National Incident Management System protocol, and is maintaining regular contact with local, county and state responders.

“The NIMS protocol combined with the excellent personnel on this campus has led to a smooth response to this situation.  Our emergency management team has worked very effectively and I am grateful to all,” said Dr. Cost.