Tue, 18 Sep 2012 16:33 CDT
Gusty winds tore off the roof of the University of Trinidad and Tobago's south campus on Sunday destroying more than $12 million worth of equipment and displacing more than 1,500 students.
The campus, at Tarouba Link Road, San Fernando, remained closed yesterday as staff met with Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim, chairman of the UTT board Curtis Manchoon, campus manager Rennie Coolman and acting UTT president Fazal Ali. Karim said he was not in a position to disclose the estimate of damage but other officials said it could run into millions of dollars.
Among the areas completely destroyed were the structural engineering laboratory, soils laboratory, telecommunication and microprocessor laboratory and the analog and digital electronics lab. All inventory records were soaked, along with several classrooms in Block B. Crumpled galvanise sheets, peeled off the roof of the electronics building, bore evidence of the force of the winds. The branches of several trees were knocked down and electrical wires, soaked ceiling tiles and moulding hung limply from the ceiling.
Karim said he was dismayed by the devastation. "Right now we are concerned about the students who are dislocated. Classes cannot be held, so we will have to make alternative arrangements," Karim said. He added that theoretical classroom lectures were not affected but all practical sessions will have to be moved to another venue. "We will be holding discussions with other agencies. Some soil labs will be transferred to UWI, UTT's Waterloo Research Station and the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. We have to repair the damage that was done. It may take about two weeks to get everything back to readiness. This is a part-time evening facility and it is really an inconvenience to students," Karim said. Campus manager Rennie Coolman said arrangements will have to be made to shuttle students to the new venue. He said the new term had just started so it was necessary to put everything in place before exams in December.