The New Wave

November 14, 2005

Photo of the Tidewater building

More than 150 people have been working to clean and repair the Tidewater building at 1440 Canal St., which houses the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, administrative offices for the Tulane Health Sciences Center and a small number of medical offices.

“The building will be ready for students and faculty to return to it in January,” says Earl Bihlmeyer, vice president for operations and facilities services, who has been overseeing the work.

The entry, lobby, main hallway, restrooms, security station, credit union, bike room and package mail areas will all be back in service by that time, although the auditorium and cafeteria space will take longer. One of the biggest challenges to date has been bringing electricity back to the building.

While the first floor flooded, high winds broke five windows on upper floors of the building and one of the panels of the glass canopy at the front of the building. The windows will be repaired as soon as the elevator is functioning. Air in all 25 floors will be tested for suspended particulates, including mold spores, before the building is reopened. The first floor, which has been gutted, will be wiped down and air tested. Then crews can come in and put up Sheetrock and begin the process of reconstructing the auditorium, student lounge and classroom space ruined by floodwater.

“We've got a lot of work still to do,” says Bihlmeyer, “but it will look great once we are done.”

Bihlmeyer will have to order new seating, audio-visual equipment and finishes for the first-floor Collins C. Diboll Auditorium and Gallery. The facility had opened for classes in the spring after nearly a year of construction funded by the Collins Diboll Foundation.

-- Madeline Vann

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