100,000 Books Put into 15,000 Boxes as Workers Make Steady Progress Toward Morgan Library Clean-Up

Workers are one-quarter of the way toward salvaging what can be saved of the estimated 500,000 books, periodicals and monographs damaged by last week’s flood at Colorado State University, while crews around campus continue to make progress cleaning up buildings in time for fall semester.

Officials have re-opened four buildings on the main campus that were closed since last Tuesday, bringing the total number of closed buildings to 10. Buildings are opening daily and officials hope to have most of them open by the end of this week.

Camila Alire, dean of libraries at Colorado State, said that as of Sunday night, workers had put an estimated 100,000 books and other water-damaged materials from the Morgan Library into approximately 15,000 boxes. They plan to fill an additional 8,000 to 10,000 boxes tonight and transport them to freezer storage in Wyoming, Alire said.

Freezing the books stops mold and fungi from developing and also gives library staff time to assess what can be restored to useable condition through a second process known as freeze- drying. That process involves putting frozen books into a refrigerated vacuum chamber that rapidly lowers the temperature to below freezing. The temperature is then slowly raised to allow water to evaporate out of the books. A drying process follows, and in some cases, further restoration processes are taken.

Alire hopes the 140 workers will have removed all of the library materials and transferred them into freezer storage later this week or early next week. While efforts to save as many materials as possible moves forward, Alire said that mold has developed on books placed on the top shelves, where the humidity has risen to concentrated levels and where books were first exposed to air.

To prevent mold from developing further in the basement or appearing in the upper floors, crews are continuing to dehumidify the building, using portable air conditioners to keep the building cool and spraying anti mold-growth inhibitor, Alire said.

"The contractors hired to do this work are doing an excellent job and moving as quickly as possible toward removing everything they possibly can," Alire said.

In other developments on campus:

  • Officials have re-opened the Engineering Building, which suffered water damage in basement of the A, B, C and D wings. Environmental health officials from the university are continuing to make safety inspections in flood-damaged buildings to assure facilities are safe before they are re-opened.
  • Clean-up is moving forward in other water-damaged buildings, including the Lory Student Center. Crews began this weekend removing water-damaged items from the University Bookstore and officials there expect to finalize plans this week for selling textbooks for fall semester classes.
  • In order to allow crews to clean up buildings and make repairs as smoothly as possible, campus police are asking people who do not need to be on campus for university business to avoid the area.
  • Colorado State has set up a CSU Hotline number for the public to get up-to-date information about the status of university operations. The number is 1-888-556-3475. Telephones will be answered from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Buildings that remain closed to the public are listed below. This list will be updated daily.

  • South College Avenue Gym
  • Eddy Hall
  • Education Building
  • Gibbons Hall
  • Johnson Hall
  • Lory Student Center
  • Morgan Library
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Hartshorn Student Health Services
  • Music Building