Flooding in the forecast

UMBC lacks adequate care for walkways in inclement weather

Even after many construction and improvement projects to better draining conditions on UMBC’s campus, some areas still cause major flooding, ice buildup and annoyance to students.

 When it rains on UMBC’s campus, it doesn’t just pour, it floods.

Areas that accumulate the heaviest foot traffic on campus also appear to be where rainfall accumulates most densely, and the school’s efforts to fix it haven’t worked.

Academic Row seems to have the biggest issues when it comes to rainfall on campus as deep puddles form quickly that students must jump over and dodge to avoid getting soaked feet and ankles.

Despite these areas of flooding, there have been multiple projects to improve drainage on campus that were directed specifically to two areas that suffered from flooding issues, without too much success.

“The [project] at Biological Sciences Building took care of a terrible ponding problem after rainstorms,” said Dusty Postlewate, Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management. That project cost about $180,000 and re-graded the area to install a “pervious” paving system and subsurface drain lines to eliminate the ponding.

“The one at the south quad involved the area bounded by the RAC, Sondheim Hall and the outdoor pool…This area was unsightly and suffered from bad drainage,” said Postlewate.

The second project also re-graded the area by installing retaining walls, pavers, replacing the roadway and installing landscaping with bio-retention structure that cost around $500,000.

These improvement projects that have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars still have not solved the issues on campus regarding flooding especially throughout Academic Row.

Many areas of Academic Row still flood badly past The Commons and especially at the bottom of the steps leading down from the Performing Arts and Humanities Building. Here, students are usually forced to take the plunge into the puddle due to such excessive water buildup.

So, as students are forced to deal with an overwhelming amount of construction throughout campus, its effects have not solved some of the most basic issues of campus maintenance.

There is also the issue of ice on campus, as there have already been patches of it on campus that formed on some of the coldest days this semester that did not get covered with salt, creating hazards for students.

Last winter, the sidewalk area from the library down through academic row was completely covered in ice — students had to skate their way through.

“Ice treatment is an animal all of its own,” Postlewate said. “This one is very difficult to define, since there are so many variables, primarily weather, that determine the success of removal.” The formation of ice comes from many factors, whether it is the layer of snow left over from shoveling, the melting and refreezing of snow, making it hard to take care of efficiently.

UMBC must work more diligently to take care this issue. Large patches of ice are difficult to control, but are also extremely dangerous for students and need to be attended to more urgently.

Whether it be rain, snow or ice, students of UMBC should be prepared for any of the upcoming weather conditions the winter holds, but so should the establishment. For now, students should expect flooding and ice in UMBC’s forecast.