Naval Academy damages in tens of millions

Naval Academy damages in tens of millions

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Hurricane Isabel flooded classrooms and laboratories at the Naval Academy, destroying electrical systems and classroom computers and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage on the military college's waterfront campus.

Half of the academy's classroom space was still unusable Tuesday and midshipmen had to move to the auditorium, field house and basketball arena for some classes, said Cmdr. Rod Gibbons, an academy spokesman.

"We're in disaster recovery here at the academy," said Gibbons, who stressed that the buildings — some of which date to the early 1900s — are structurally fine. About 120,000 square feet of labs were soaked.

Hot water was restored Tuesday morning to Bancroft Hall, the dormitory that houses all 4,000 students, Gibbons said. But it was still too dangerous to restore electricity to other buildings where basements were still flooded.

Academy officials were still assessing the damage and did not release an official estimate, saying only that the cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars. It may be weeks before the staff knows how much equipment can be salvaged.

Isabel's high-water line was visible on hallway and classroom walls Tuesday.

The chemistry, aerospace and electrical engineering laboratories suffered the most damage when Isabel forced a 71/2-foot storm surge out of Chesapeake Bay and the Severn River onto campus Thursday night. The 338-acre campus sits where the river flows into the bay, and significant areas are built on landfill that is particularly vulnerable to flooding.

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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