The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Geography Department Forced to Migrate Again

2 min read
Anne Elder/Bullet

The winter storm that came through the region earlier this month did more than cause headaches for commuters and leave piles of snow around campus. The record-breaking snowfall did visible damage to buildings around the area, including on campus.

The Annex B building, which houses the geography department, has been closed for potentially the remainder of the spring 2010 semester, due to a roof collapse from the snow pressure.

The decision to close the building was made by the administration under the advice of the Office of Public Safety and Community Services and the Office of Emergency Management and Safety.

The roof collapse weakened the structure’s support due to the buildup.

According to John Wiltenmuth, the university’s associate vice president for facilities services, a roof truss failed under the pressure of the snow.

“The truss will need to be replaced from the inside with supplemental support and the roof will require realignment,” Wiltenmuth said.

Wiltenmuth also said that classes that were previously held in the building will now meet in Combs Hall and the Annex A building.

“It’s been annoying not being able to go [to the Annex] to work on my labs after hours,” senior geography major Eric Hetzer said.

Annex B will be closed “likely the rest of the semester,” Wiltenmuth said.

Junior Emily Morton, who is declaring geography as a second major, said her lab is now in the trailer behind Westmoreland Hall.

“There’s no running water and no internet hook-ups,” Morton said. “It’s been an adjustment.”

Professors also have had to move out of their offices, making it difficult for students to meet with them.

“Just meeting up with the head of the department to declare [the major] has been hard because he doesn’t have an office,” Morton said.

This is the second time the geography department has had to relocate in less than a year.

When Monroe Hall closed for renovations last fall, the geography department moved to the temporary trailer behind Custis Hall.

The repairs of the building also involved the closing of parking spots near Annex B on the campus side of College Avenue from 5 p.m. on Feb. 16 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 17 so that moving vehicles could empty the building.

“College Ave. will not be closed at anytime; we’re simply closing parking spaces off to expedite the move,” Susan Knick, assistant vice president for Public Safety and Community Support Services, said.

No cost has yet been announced for the work being done on Annex B.

“We don’t know today,” Wiltenmuth said. “We’ll be bidding the work after the repair design is completed in a few weeks.”

-Brynn Boyer contributed to this report.