DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Hamilton Library cleanup includes drying and restoring mud-soaked maps in the basement. Richard Tominaga, left, and Matt McGranghan were among those handling the maps Thursday, working by lanterns with the power still out.
UH cleanup deal
The contract to repair flood damage
is with a Texas firm enlisted
for post-9/11 work
The University of Hawaii has hired a Texas-based disaster recovery business to restore buildings on the Manoa campus devastated by last weekend's flood, in a contract that may cost as much as $5 million, officials said yesterday.
The company, BMS Catastrophe, worked as part of the cleanup crew after this summer's hurricanes in the Southeast and at the Pentagon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
BMS will start work today and is expected to be finished in about 45 days. The company's contract with UH begins at $1.75 million, but expenses based on time and materials could bring the cost up to about $5 million. Most of the cost will be covered by flood insurance, UH officials said.
"A lot of the equipment and the people who are coming over are just coming off of jobs" in hurricane-devastated areas of Florida and Alabama, said BMS Senior Vice President Tim Draney.
The company will focus on the four buildings -- Hamilton Library, the biomedical and agricultural sciences buildings, and Sherman Laboratory -- most heavily damaged in a Halloween-eve flood, which also rushed through more than 140 Manoa homes.
"Of particular concern is Hamilton Library and the biomedical research building," UH interim President David McClain told reporters yesterday at a news conference on the Manoa campus. "At Hamilton, millions of dollars of valuable and rare books and collections are at stake."
There's no timetable to reopen the library, which is closed indefinitely. And McClain said it's unclear whether Hamilton will be ready for students after BMS is finished because there are also areas of the library that need to be rebuilt.
"The biomedical building and the library will come online as soon as possible," said Manoa Chancellor Peter Englert, declining to say whether students would have access before the end of the year.
Officials still have not tallied their total losses from the disaster.
Roughly 230,000 maps and historical photos, more than 100 computers and thousands of books were damaged when a wall of water deluged Hamilton's basement. Floodwaters also hit key laboratories on campus, including the world-renowned Institute for Biogenesis Research.
McClain said most Manoa scientists whose experiments were affected by the flood sustained minimal losses. He said the government has contacted UH about the status of 90 federal research grants, and officials are working now to determine when work on the projects can continue.
"What we're hearing from our researchers is that despite the loss of some samples ... at present, substantially all or perhaps literally all of the research projects under way will be able to brought to a successful conclusion," McClain said.
Draney said two to three plane-loads of equipment, including portable generators, dehumidifiers and other cooling equipment, were flown to Honolulu from Texas last night to help in the restoration. More cleanup supplies will be purchased locally.
He said that as about 32 BMS employees work with National Guardsmen and other workers to dry, clean and restore affected buildings, UH staff and volunteers will continue to try to save materials damaged in the flood.
"We will also be working in the cleanup" of books and other documents, Draney added.
Already, Hamilton staff and volunteers have filled four 40-foot freezer containers with books, photos and maps damaged in the flood in hopes of preventing mold growth.
Also yesterday, officials said an additional 20 families whose homes were damaged in the Manoa flood filled out requests for assistance at a disaster assistance center being operated by the state and Oahu Civil Defense agencies. In all, 147 families have sought help to repair their flood-damaged homes.