85 F
Cruz Bay
Friday, April 19, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsUVI Getting $4.1 Million for St. Thomas Dorms and Libraries

UVI Getting $4.1 Million for St. Thomas Dorms and Libraries

An aerial view of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy of UVI)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently awarded as much as $4.1 million to the University of the Virgin Islands to retrofit the dormitories and library on the Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas.

The upper campus of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas (Photo courtesy of UVI)

According to UVI, the wind retrofit of all five residence halls (North, South, East, West and Middle) and the Ralph M. Paiewonsky Library will include hardening structural components including the roof, entry doors, window openings, gutters, electrical and mechanical equipment, lighting, security systems and other at-risk elements in accordance with current building codes. This work is supposed to be constructed to meet the 180-mile-per-hour design windspeed requirements for the U.S. Virgin Islands and the American Society of Civil Engineers. That means it should be able to withstand winds up to 180 miles per hour.

“After the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the university’s facilities were compromised,” Shirley Lake-King, UVI vice president for administration and finance and chief financial officer, said in a statement. “This project will ensure that students can remain in the residence halls during and after the passage of a storm,” she said.

The next step is for UVI to hire a firm to complete design and engineering for the first phase. Once complete, UVI will reportedly make a final determination on the actual cost and solicit a contractor for construction.

“These dorms have been home to many local, national and international students over the years. Ensuring that all students are safe and secure in the face of a disaster is critical to fostering a resilient community of higher education learners,” Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne Williams-Octalien said in the same statement.

“The project’s goal of mitigating the risks posed by hurricane winds will allow the university to recover quickly and expeditiously regain normalcy after weather events,” she said.

The residence halls on the Orville E. Kean Campus can accommodate around 350 students and range between two to four stories of both single and double occupancy units in addition to suite-style housing.

The resources housed in the two-story Ralph M. Paiewonsky Library are comprised of instructional and research materials as well as special Caribbean and local historical collections. Funding projects that protect intellectual and cultural assets are among FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program’s core functions.

The South Dorm of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas (Photo courtesy of UVI)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.