Rich Holly's Percussion Place

Assorted ramblings and occasional updates in the world of percussion.

Friday, August 31, 2007


The school year here at Northern Illinois University began with tornado sirens, rotating clouds, heavy rains, and finally a flood. The flooding was so bad that of the 10 bridges in town that cross the Kishwaukee River, only 2 were passable. The University shut down on Friday, August 24 around 10:15 in the morning to send everyone home, as more rains were expected.

In this photo, what you cannot see are the Music and Art buildings, which are to the right of where this photo ends. But this is the southeast corner of the NIU campus: the bottom of the photo is the east side, where the Kishwaukee River is

The Music Building is right next to the Kishwaukee River, and even though both the north side and south side parking lots were complete lakes, somehow the water did not enter the building. The Art Building, which is next door to the Music Building, was not as lucky. The first floor of the Art Building is below grade, so quite a bit of water went into the hallways. Luckily the door seals worked beautifully and kept the water out of the rooms.

HOWEVER, overnight Friday into Saturday, the storm sewers became overloaded and water began to gush into the lower level of 3 of the lecture halls on the Art Building's first floor. When you enter these rooms on the first floor, you're at the back of the room, and they go down several levels from there, making a nice basement-level location for the water to collect. We ended up with about 18" of water in these 3 rooms for the entire weekend - even with multiple pumps running 24 hours a day, the water was coming in just as quickly as it was being pumped out. Dozens of employees from the Building Services department worked all weekend long and continued to work all this past week. The rooms needed a huge amount of cleaning after the water was completely removed, electrical service needed attention, and the media/computer equipment was water logged. This Labor Day weekend even more people will be in there getting the rooms completely cleaned, dry, and working with new computers so we can begin to hold classes in there. It's been astonishing to see so many people be so passionate and dedicated about their work in getting these rooms ready at the first available moment.

This is the football field at one of the middle schools a couple of blocks away from the NIU campus