Latest updates on June 16 tornado

August 29, 2014

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All tornado communication is archived on the UW-Platteville website, and can be accessed from this webpage.

Posted on Sept. 19, 2014, 11:30 a.m.

One of UW-Platteville's most recognizable sights, the world's largest 'M,' is now re-opened after the damaged tower on top of it was removed. 

Posted on Aug. 29, 2014, 1:00 p.m.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville ceremoniously “re-opened” its campus Friday, just 74 days after an EF-2 tornado significantly damaged five campus buildings, Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium and Memorial Park.

UW System President Dr. Ray Cross joined UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder on the back patio of Engineering Hall, whose damaged exterior is still visible.

“It’s unbelievable how quickly you have done this,” said Cross. “I think it speaks to your commitment to serve students. My compliments to you; I hope you are proud of what you have accomplished, those of us in the system are. I hope you realize that today, the rest of the system stands with you, and we, too, are all Pioneers.”

Friday was move-in day, as students transferred their belongings into the residence halls, including Bridgeway Commons, Rountree Commons and Southwest Hall. The three newest halls had more than 400 rooms damaged.

Chancellor Shields thanked those who offered support and assisted in the recovery process, including area first responders, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and state legislators, UW System colleagues, Wisconsin Department of Administration, many contractors and several departments across campus, among others.

“All of these people have stepped up in a big way, and we owe them a great debt of thanks,” said Chancellor Shields. “All of these people are the reason why every day is a great day to be a Pioneer.”

Exterior and some spots still need to be done on the impacted buildings, but with new windows, walls and furniture, the residence halls rooms were ready for move-in day.

“This tornado also brought out the very best in people, both from UW-Platteville employees and those who arrived to help,” Den Herder said. “Immediately, everyone came together on a single mission, and that was to ready our campus in time for today. And that is what we are celebrating this morning, the hard work and dedication that made this day possible.”


Posted on Aug. 22, 2014, 11:30 a.m.

  • University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross and UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields will hold a press conference and grand re-opening of campus on Friday, Aug. 29 at 11:30 a.m. in the back patio of Engineering Hall. The campus community is invited. Parking is recommended in front of Williams Fieldhouse and the Markee Pioneer Student Center, as the lots and streets around that area will be full for move-in day. President Cross will also participate in the afternoon student convocation.
     
  • Stations dining is in full operational mode, serving early arrival students. 
     
  • A Memorial Park map, showing which areas are open or closed, is being developed and will be posted on the website when completed.
     
  • The Pioneer Stadium turf is scheduled to be removed this weekend, with the new turf installation beginning early next week. The completion date is early to mid-September. The first two home soccer games have been relocated, but events scheduled after Sept. 9 are still being planned for the stadium. A rendering of the new field can be seen at http://athletics.uwplatt.edu/general_releases/Newturf.
     
  • Although not a tornado-related issue, but still one that has many people asking, the M remains closed because the radio tower owned by the state's Education Communications Board needs repairs or replacement. As soon as ECB is able to use an alternate site to keep broadcasting Wisconsin Public Radio to this area, work will begin. 

Posted on Aug. 15, 2014, 7:30 a.m.

  • Just 59 days after the June 16 tornado that severely impacted Engineering Hall, Bridgeway Commons, Rountree Commons and Southwest Hall, those buildings are re-opening for occupancy. Although work will be ongoing, the residence halls will be open for the approximately 500 early-arrival students. Faculty and staff are scheduled to return to Engineering Hall Monday.
     
  • The first meals at Stations in Bridgeway Commons will be served Friday night.
     
  • Custodial staff have begun cleaning the non-damaged rooms in the three impacted residence halls so all rooms are ready for the move-in day Aug. 29.
     
  • Bridgeway Commons, Engineering Hall and Southwest Hall passed their final air quality tests last week. Final tests at Rountree Commons are being conducted this week and next.
     
  • Landscaping work around Rountree Commons has begun.
     
  • The debris-filled turf at Pioneer Stadium will be removed next week, and after removal, the new turf will be installed. The foundations for the new light poles will be installed next week as well. The stadium completion is scheduled for early to mid-September.
     
  • Next week's open forum will be the last scheduled session. It will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Doudna 136.
     
  • Through Aug. 9, university staff have worked 12,100 hours on the tornado response and recovery.
     

Posted on Aug. 8, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

  • Very visible signs of the recovery occurred this week as windows were put back in many of the residence hall rooms. Interior work is also happening in Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall and Rountree Commons, as carpeting and installation of room furnishings have begun. All three halls are expected to be ready for occupancy by Aug. 15
     
  • Engineering Hall will be open for faculty and staff to return to their facility Aug. 18.
     
  • Until Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium reopens in early to mid-September, the Pioneer varsity sports are moving their practices. The football team will practice at Miners' Field; men's soccer in the Kendall Murray Field baseball outfield; and women's soccer at Westview Elementary School. The football team will bus from the locker room to Miners' Field to keep the neighborhood free from all the vehicles that 160+ people would bring to preseason practices. Football reports on Saturday, Aug. 16.
     
  • The first two home soccer games have been moved to alternative sites. The men's team will play Wisconsin Lutheran on Friday, Aug. 29 at Reddan Soccer Park in Verona at 2 p.m.  The women's team will face Cornell College on Aug. 31 at the Dubuque Soccer Complex at 1 p.m. Platteville High School, which also uses the stadium for its home football games, announced that the Aug. 28 game will now be played in Cuba City and the Sept. 5 contest in Potosi.
     
  • On Tuesday, 40 University of Dubuque resident assistants will help install silt fencing to prevent erosion in Memorial Park. On Thursday, UW-Platteville students, staff and faculty will assist with various projects during the university's second Volunteer Day.

Posted on Aug. 1, 2014, 09:30 a.m.

  • Thank you to the students and staff who turned out yesterday for UW-Platteville Volunteer Day. The group spent six hours clearing debris at Memorial Park. More volunteers opportunities are being explored. Sign up online
     
  • Just 45 days after the tornado hit campus, the three impacted residence halls (Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall and Rountree Commons) are on pace to be at full occupancy for students' arrivals. Glass has replaced the boards in many of the windows. Inside the residence halls, dry wall installation, painting and carpeting are continuing. 
     
  • Engineering Hall is scheduled for occupancy by Aug. 15, with faculty and staff set to move back in Aug. 18. The damaged curtain wall (facing Southwest Road) will not be completed by that time, but interior alterations will be made to ensure safe occupancy.
     
  • One of the biggest concerns is the removal of debris from the grounds. Until the most effective way to remove all broken glass and materials--no matter how small the particles--is decided upon, orange fencing will soon be placed around all impacted areas to keep people and animals out to ensure safety.
     
  • The removal of the damaged Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium turf begins the week of Aug. 17, with the new field installation to follow. The new footings for the light poles will be installed in two weeks. The replacement visitor bleachers will feature a blue and orange design. The stadium is scheduled for an early to mid-September opening. 
     
  • Memorial Park logging operations will continue next week, with chipping of large stumps next on the agenda. Because so much dirt is now exposed, seeding will take place to prevent erosion. Memorial Park is still off-limits to all unauthorized personnel for safety reasons. Violators can be, and have been, ticketed for trespassing.
     
  • Through July 26, university employees have expended 10,761 hours on the recovery process.

Posted on July 25, 2014, 9:00 a.m.

  • Good news continues on the recovery status of the university. Much of the construction remains at or ahead of schedule. Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall and Engineering Hall are expected to be ready for occupancy by Aug. 15. All repairs will not be completed by that time, but windows, furniture, carpet, etc. are expected to be installed in the upcoming weeks. Drywalling and painting are in progress now, and window installation began this week.
     
  • The bridges by Bridgeway Commons and in Memorial Park were inspected this week and appear to be undamaged. The same holds true for the wind turbine.
     
  • Coach Mike Emendorfer and two football players were featured on WKOW TV Madison in a story about repairs to Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium. Watch the video.
     
  • The last light tower was removed from Pioneer Stadium Tuesday. New lights, playing surface and visiting bleachers have been ordered. Projections call for the stadium to reopen in early to mid-September.  
     
  • Welcome Weekend events were adjusted to avoid the stadium usage and the interior of the outdoor track.
     
  • All non-engineering classes have been moved out of Engineering Hall for the fall.
     
  • The Engineering Hall faculty and staff should be allowed to move back into their offices on Aug. 18.
     
  • Logging operations continue in Memorial Park, meaning the park is still off limits to unauthorized personnel.
     
  • Bids are out for the repairs to the Greenhouse.
     
  • UW-Platteville is collecting stories from students, faculty or staff on where they were when the tornado struck or how they were impacted by the storm. This tornado will become part of university history, and these stories will be archived. To share a story, fill out the online form
     
  • For previous updates, photos, videos and news story links, visit the UW-Platteville home page. The tornado updates page has been read 15,468 times (13,262 of them unique hits) and shared 1,695 times on Facebook since it was first posted online June 17.

Posted on July 21, 2014, 1:38 p.m.

  • Today's tornado update deals with communications. Please take a minute and and answer a two-question survey about the amount of updates concerning the recovery process. 

Posted on July 18, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

  • UW-Platteville is collecting stories from students, faculty or staff on where they were when the tornado struck or how they were impacted by the storm. This tornado will become part of university history, and these stories will be archived. To share a story, fill out the online form
     
  • This week's Pioneer Spotlight shines on Linda Mulroy-Bowden, the director of the Department of Residence Life. She talks about her position, the department and the response to the tornado.
     
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration has set up a temporary service center until July 24 at 50 Water St., Platteville. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  SBA personnel will assist homeowners, renters, businesses and not-for-profit organizations with the application process related to attaining SBA disaster assistance loans. Forms are available online. For more information, call 1-800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Posted on July 17, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

  • University officials are sounding optimistic tones over reports this week that many rebuilding projects are on or even ahead of schedule in some cases. Occupancy of the impacted buildings (Southwest Hall, Bridgeway Commons, Rountree Commons and Engineering Hall) is on pace for the Aug. 15 target date. Not all work will be completed by then, but occupancy should be possible if all things continue to go as planned. For example, the exterior curtain wall of Engineering Hall will require more time to fix, but that will not impact the use of the rest of the building. Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium is scheduled for early to mid-September usage. No timetable has been set yet for a Memorial Park re-opening.
     
  • Air testing is being or has been done in all of the impacted building areas.  Testing will be repeated after construction and before occupancy occurs to double-check and ensure safety. 
     
  • The most effective method of removing debris in the grass fields is being studied. As a reminder, bare feet or sandals are not recommended for areas near the impacted sites. Glass and other debris are imbedded in the ground and may not be readily visible.
     
  • As a reminder, no unauthorized people are allowed in any university area marked with the no trespassing signs. This includes the damaged buildings, the driving range, Memorial Park, the stadium, the inside grass of the outdoor track, the football/soccer practice fields, etc. Three $200 tickets were issued yesterday for trespassing. These areas are construction zones and closed for safety reasons. Please stay out!

Posted on July 16, 2014, 12:15 p.m.

  • Members of a University Advancement committee met this morning to begin awarding grants through the Pioneer Relief Fund. These grants will assist students, faculty and staff who were displaced or lost possessions during the tornado. To request assistance, go to the online form. To make a donation, visit the Pioneer Relief Fund website.
     
  • A new video was posted showing the progress being made in the residence halls repair.
     
  • The new visitor's bleachers on the east side of Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium will be constructed to meet current codes and be ADA compliant with wider aisles. This will make the structure longer than the previous version.
     
  • The first shipment of glass to replace broken windows is scheduled to arrive on campus tomorrow.
     
  • The next open forum is Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, room 136.

Posted on July 15, 2014, 12:15 p.m.

  • Applications are coming in to the Pioneer Relief Fund for people negatively impacted by the tornado. To request assistance, go to the online request form. To make a donation, visit the Pioneer Relief Fund online. 
     
  • The pedestrian bridge by Bridgeway Commons and the horseshoe bend bridge in Memorial Park will be inspected this week to ensure safety.
     
  • The replacement air-handling unit for Stations is scheduled to arrive Aug. 15 and installed immediately afterwards. Cooking in Bridgeway Commons cannot take place until the new equipment is installed and operating.
     
  • The concrete pre-casting pouring began at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium yesterday. The stadium is scheduled to be ready early to mid-September.
     
  • The next open forum is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, room 136.

Posted on July 14, 2014, 10:15 a.m.

  • Approximately 150 people, all clad in orange and blue, attended the Chicago Bears' check presentation at Ralph. E. Davis Pioneer Stadium Friday. The $50,000 donation increased the Pioneer Relief Fund to almost $76,000. To help support students, faculty and staff affected by the storm with needs such as food and/or water, temporary housing, clothing, and other supplies, visit the website.
     
  • The primary buildings impacted by the tornado (Engineering Hall, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall and Rountree Commons) have schedules drafted for occupancy by Aug. 15, although not all work may be completed by that time. Exterior cladding and replacement of window frames may require additional time. Contingency plans continue to be developed.
     
  • All non-engineering classes scheduled for the fall in Engineering Hall have alternate locations should third floor classes have to be relocated.
     
  • Four scenarios have been drafted for the usage of the outdoor practice and game fields, depending on their availability. This includes plans for the varsity athletics, club teams and organizations, the Marching Pioneers and other groups or classes that utilize the green spaces.
     
  • It appears that all of the named memorials in Memorial Park were unscathed by the storm.

Posted on July 11, 2014, 4 p.m.

A relationship that started in 1984 continued on Friday as the Chicago Bears donated $50,000 to the Pioneer Relief Fund at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Brian McCaskey, senior director of business development and member of the Chicago Bears board of directors, presented the check on behalf of the organization during an afternoon gathering of more than 150 at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.

An EF-2 tornado significantly damaged five university buildings and the stadium, where the Bears practiced for 18 years, from 1984-2001. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of their first training camp in Southwest Wisconsin.

“It’s nice to be back. I’m just sorry it’s under these conditions and these circumstances,” McCaskey said, “But it’s great to see people come together under times of adversity. Mike Ditka once gave us all a Christmas gift. It was a crystal bear, and on it was engraved the words, ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do.’ It’s great to see this campus and this community come together in these tough times. Platteville and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville have always held a special place in Bears history.”

He presented the $50,000 check to Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder and Assistant Chancellor for Advancement and Executive Director of the UW-Platteville Foundation Dennis Cooley as well as three from the university who worked so closely with the Bears during their 18 years: Curt Fatzinger, Deb Putnam and Steve Zielke.

The Pioneer Relief Fund was established to support students and displaced faculty and staff affected by the tornado with needs such as food and/or water, temporary housing, clothing and other supplies.

“When the Bears left campus in 2001, they donated $250,000, which was used for the computer labs in what was then our brand-new student center,” said Den Herder. “Today, the Bears’ Den is still a focal point for the university and has benefitted tens of thousands of students. To now have the Bears’ organization come back to help us once again is truly an inspiring gesture.”

With Friday’s donation, the Pioneer Relief Fund now includes $75,947.

“It’s really the people who make this place go,” Cooley said. “That’s why the Pioneer Relief Fund was created, to assist our students, our friends and our co-workers who have been negatively impacted by the storm. We are overwhelmed by this gift from Mr. McCaskey and the Chicago Bears. Our business relationship may have ended more than a decade ago, but the Bears continue to be one of our true partners.”

More photos from the event are available here.


Posted on July 10, 2014, 12 p.m.

Brian McCaskey, senior director of business development and member of the Chicago Bears board of directors, will present a $50,000 check on behalf of the Chicago Bears to UW-Platteville officials Friday, July 11 at 2 p.m. in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.

The Bears, who called UW-Platteville their summer home from 1984-2001, are making the donation to the Pioneer Relief Fund to aid campus tornado victims of a June 16 storm. The press conference is open to the public, and the university community is encouraged to attend.

UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields has declared Friday Orange and Blue Day in honor of both organizations. He encourages everyone to wear the colors the university and the Bears share.

Those attending the Friday presentation must enter from Markee Drive, where the visitors’ bleachers used to be before being destroyed in the storm. During the event, the university will be utilizing volunteers from the list compiled during the last three weeks. If anyone knows immediately if they are available and would be willing to help, please contact pr@uwplatt.edu.

An EF-2 tornado significantly damaged five university buildings and the stadium, where the Bears practiced for 18 years. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of their first training camp in Southwest Wisconsin.

The Pioneer Relief Fund is being used to support students and displaced faculty and staff affected by the storm with needs such as food and/or water, temporary housing, clothing and other supplies.


Posted on July 9, 2014, 3:30 p.m.

  • UW-Platteville employees logged 7,700 hours on tornado-related and recovery activities between June 16 and June 28.
     
  • Drywall operations have been going on in the residence halls–Bridgeway Commons, Rountree Commons and Southwest Hall–impacted by the tornado. Drywalling starts in Engineering Hall on Thursday. Testing of the duct works, sprinkler systems and other systems are ongoing.
     
  • Reminder that the World's Largest M is currently off-limits to unauthorized personnel. A regularly scheduled inspection of the Educational Communications Board tower atop the Platte Mound uncovered some damage to the 170-foot structure. 
     
  • The next open forum is Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna 136. Those forums are open to all the university community.
     
  • See a message to UW-Platteville faculty and instructional staff from Dr. Joanne Wilson, assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs

Posted on July 8, 2014, 3:30 p.m.

  • Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium looks noticeably different this week. The visiting stands, which were mangled in the tornado, have been completely removed as the site is readied for new stands. Three of the four light standards are also now gone.
     
  • The Pioneer Relief Fund has now raised $25,097, which includes the UW-Platteville Foundation's $10,000 match. The purpose of the Pioneer Relief Fund is to assist UW-Platteville students, faculty, or staff affected by the tornado. Those who were affected can now apply online for Pioneer Relief funds. 
     
  • Those on campus may have wondered what is going on with the clocks, as many are not telling the correct time. The master clock was damaged by the storm. New parts should be in next week, and campus will be back in synch.
     
  • As a reminder, the next open forum is scheduled for Thursday, July 10 at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, Room 136. (Note the room change from the previous week's e-mail.)

Posted on July 7, 2014, 9:15 p.m.

  • Contingency plans for the non-engineering classes in Engineering Hall are being developed by the Registrar's Office. As changes recorded in PASS, an automatic e-mail is generated to the students affected the change. These classes may be moved back to Engineering Hall should the classrooms be ready for the start of classes.
     
  • The Six Rivers Conference football jamboree that had been scheduled forAug. 23 in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium will not be played on campus this year. The high school conference is making alternate plans for the four scheduled games.
     
  • A plan is being developed to collect stories from the tornado and its aftermath for archival purposes. Watch for more on this.
     
  • UW-Platteville is currently conducting an after-action review of the emergency response to the tornado. The first step of this process is collecting opinions from those involved in the crisis response on what went well and where improvements can be made. A survey has been distributed to many of those involved in the first 48 hours of the tornado response. The data will be compiled and used to make improvements in the University Response Plan. 
  • Any request to replace or repair any item as a result of the June 16 tornado needs to follow a specific procedure.  The requestor should:
  1. Scan a written estimate 
  2. Scan a purchase requisition, leaving the account number and signature lines blank
  3. Email the scanned items to:  tornadorecovery@uwplatt.edu.

If the estimate is approved by the insurance adjuster, the requester will be notified to proceed with arranging for the repair or replacement. If the request is not approved, the requester will be notified.  Please establish only one person in your department that is a contact person that provides this information. If you have small purchases that are storm related, please contact Lew Bettinger in Purchasing at 342-1221. 


Posted on July 3, 2014, 11:50 a.m.

  • The construction manager presented a timeline to university officials yesterday that would allow for occupancy by Aug. 15 for the impacted buildings (Engineering Hall, Southwest Hall, Rountree Commons and Bridgeway Commons) if all things go well. That occupancy is dependent on many variables, such as glass and furniture being manufactured and delivered on the tight schedule.
     
  • The damaged pre-cast concrete portions of Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium were removed and inspected. Twelve pieces will have to be re-cast and five more repaired. The others can be reinstalled in the home side of the stadium. New bleachers for the visitors side are in the planning stages and will be ordered soon.
     
  • The logging on the lower parts of Memorial Park is paused due to wet grounds. See the photo gallery for pictures that were taken yesterday.
     
  • Memorial Park is still a secure area (as are all the impacted buildings and the stadium), and unauthorized people are not allowed in the park. The securedPioneer Pride Day area includes holes 10-14 of the disc golf course. Please restrict your playing to holes 1-9 and 15-18.
     
  • The recovery operations committee is led by Vice Chancellor Rob Cramer and consists of five teams going forward: university facilities (chaired by Pete Davis), university operations/80 days committee (Laura Bayless), insurance management (Cathy Riedl-Farrey and Amy Spohn), communications (Paul Erickson) and project management (Mark Woolley). Contact the chairs if you have specific questions or concerns.
     
  • Approximately 125 people attended Pioneer Pride Day in the Markee Pioneer Student Center yesterday. See links of the news coverage from WKOW TV Madison and the Dubuque Telegraph Herald on the media page.
     
  • Thirty people were at today's open forum. Those are held each Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall. (Note next week's will move to room 103).

Posted on July 2, 2014, 12:15 p.m.

  • Today is Pioneer Pride Day. Thank you to everyone for wearing your orange and blue. Campus looks very colorful today! Share your acts of kindness on the UW-Platteville Facebook page, Instagram page, or Twitter, using #PioneerPride. To celebrate our Pioneer pride together, everyone in the UW-Platteville community is invited to Pioneer Crossing in the Markee Pioneer Student Center at 2 p.m. for orange and blue frozen treats. 
     
  • Tomorrow is the next open forum, beginning at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, room 136.
     
  • The university received good news this week as it appears for all damaged buildings, glass can be replaced in the existing window frames if they are intact. This should allow for temporary fixes that will lead to occupancy.
     
  • More good news: interim College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Dean Dr. Mesut Muslu reports that most of the lab equipment in Engineering Hall is in good shape.
     
  • Indoor air quality testing continues this week. Because the safety of students, faculty and staff is of paramount concern, no final repairs will begin until the university has certified that the air quality standards meet or exceed industry standards in all of the impacted buildings.  The buildings will be thoroughly inspected to ensure they are safe before they are reoccupied.
     
  • The Pioneer Relief Fund has now raised $22,667, including the $10,000 match by the UW-Platteville Foundation. A form will be posted soon for students, faculty or staff to apply for the funds.
     
  • For updated news, photos and videos, check the university web site, uwplatt.edu. Yesterday, the photo gallery was updated to include Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium renovations, and later today, pictures of the Memorial Park logging will be added. More than 7,000 unique visitors have viewed the the tornado updates online.

Posted on July 1, 2014, 3:30 p.m.

  • UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields has declared WednesdayJuly 2 as Pioneer Pride Day. Students, staff, faculty, and alumni —  both on campus and off — are encouraged to wear orange and blue. The university is also encouraging everyone to show their Pioneer pride on July 2 by paying it forward and helping someone else. Share your acts of kindness with us on the UW-Platteville Facebook page, Instagram page, or Twitter, using #PioneerPride. To celebrate our Pioneer pride together, everyone in the UW-Platteville community is invited to Pioneer Crossing in the Markee Pioneer Student Center at 2 p.m. on WednesdayJuly 2 for orange and blue frozen treats. 
     
  • Yesterday, City of Platteville emergency services sounded the tornado siren as straight-line winds exceeding 70 mph were predicted for the approaching severe thunderstorm. Grant County Emergency Management also activated several municipality sirens throughout the county. The university implemented emergency management protocols, which place everyone in safe shelters such as basement hallways. Normally, the university does not issue an "all-clear" message, but this was not a National Weather Service tornado warning with a definitive expiration time, and the campus was past its declared hours of operation (4 p.m.). That is why the "all-clear" PA message was issued, with the additional message that there were more severe storm warnings still in effect.
     
  • Logging operations continue in Memorial Park this week. The logging company is hauling and using the logs to help offset part of the payment. Some of the wood will be saved for university usage.
     
  • While logging operations and the 250-ton crane at the stadium draw a lot of attention, please remember that Memorial Park, Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium, the practice fields and the five impacted buildings are considered construction sites and are off-limits to unauthorized personnel. Five people were issued $200 trespassing tickets at Memorial Park. 

Posted on June 30, 2014, 11:15 a.m.

  • UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields has declared Wednesday, July 2 as Pioneer Pride Day. Students, staff, faculty, and alumni —  both on campus and off — are encouraged to wear orange and blue. The university is also encouraging everyone to show their Pioneer pride on July 2 by paying it forward and helping someone else. Share your acts of kindness with us on the UW-Platteville Facebook page, Instagram page, or Twitter, using #PioneerPride. To celebrate our Pioneer pride together, everyone in the UW-Platteville community is invited to Pioneer Crossing in the Markee Pioneer Student Center at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2 for orange and blue frozen treats. 
     
  • Assessment of the damaged buildings is almost complete. Much of the demolition in impacted rooms is ongoing in some spots and nearing completion in others.  Many of the damaged rooms were stripped down to their studs. (See the photo gallery for examples.) Drywall begins in Bridgeway Commons and Rountree Commons this week. Glass work starts today in Engineering Hall. In Southwest Hall, evaluation of the exterior cladding occurs today and tomorrow.
     
  • A new ProGrass field has been designed for the Pioneer Stadium, incorporating the crossed pick axes at midfield.
     
  • The Pioneer Relief Fund has raised $7,252 in donations. The UW-Platteville Foundation has agreed to match the first $10,000 raised, so the fund total is actually at $14,504. To give to the Pioneer Relief Fund, go to the webpage.

Posted on June 27, 2014, 11:30 a.m.

  • In an occurrence that may or may not be related to the tornado, a regularly scheduled inspection of the Educational Communications Board tower atop the Platte Mound uncovered some damage to the 170-foot structure. Because of that, portions of our "M" are closed to the public. Tower repairs are expected to start relatively soon, according to the ECB.
     
  • Seventy-five people attended the open forum yesterday, conducted by Chancellor Dennis J. Shields, Vice Chancellor Rob Cramer and Public Information Officer Paul Erickson. These question-and-answer sessions are held every Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, room 136.
     
  • Chancellor Shields has announced that Wednesday, July 2 is Pioneer Pride Day. All Pioneers, wherever they may be, are encouraged to wear their orange and blue as well as pay it forward and help someone else.
     
  • To sign up for volunteer activities, go to the university homepage and use the volunteer opportunities link. You will also find all the daily updates, photo and video galleries, frequently asked questions, media links and a place to donate to the Pioneer Relief Fund.
     
  • Twenty-five people have already completed the volunteer form.
     
  • Almost $4,000 has been raised through the Pioneer Relief Fund.
     
  • The UW-Platteville Heartland Festival will have a special benefit performance of 'next to normal' tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Theatre.  All tickets are $10, and proceeds will go to the UW-Platteville Tornado Relief Fund.  For tickets and information call the University Box Office at 608.342.1298 or visit the website.
     
  • U.S. Congressman Ron Kind will tour the impacted areas this afternoon. 
     
  • Just a reminder that e-mail, PASS and other services will be down from 5-11:59 p.m. tonight. These regular updates that the Information Technology staff conduct are necessary to keep our systems running at peak performance. Case in point: despite the tornado and the power outage, the UW-Platteville servers remained intact and operational throughout the crisis.

Posted on June 26, 2014, 2:30 p.m.

University officials hold press conference

On June 25, Chancellor Dennis J. Shields, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Rob Cramer, and Chief of University Police Scott Marquardt held a press conference in Ullsvik Hall to address the impact of the June 16 tornado and the university's response and progress. Chancellor Shields praised the residence hall directors, assistants, and camp counselors for safely guiding students and campers to safety. He also thanked the city and county emergency teams for their help, as well as officials at Southwest Technical College, Northeast Iowa Community College and partners in the UW System.

"I can remember about two years ago Chief Marquardt coming into my office and telling me how important it was for us to do some serious disaster preparation," said Chancellor Shields. "He led that process both by having the skill and talent to get us all together and to take the training seriously, and then to lead us through that process so that in the event of a disaster we can respond in a way that was effective and limited the personal injuries on campus."

Marquardt spoke about the extensive emergency management training and exercises that UW-Platteville officials regularly undertake, in order to prepare for an emergency situation such as the one that occurred last week.

The team answered questions about the work that has started to repair the damaged buildings, the emergency preparedness plan the university has in place and the 80-day planning team responsible for forming contingency plans.

Chancellor Shields confirmed that by August 15, the university will be ready for students one way or another.

For more from the press conference, see the video


Posted on June 26, 2014, 11:15 a.m.

  • Logging is underway in Memorial Park, as scores of downed and damaged trees are being removed. 
     
  • Demolition in many of the damaged residence hall rooms is nearly complete. Drywalling is expected to begin next week.
     
  • All 217 students who were originally scheduled for New Student Registration days on June 17-18 now have been rescheduled, with many of them already through the process. The Admissions and Enrollment Services staff came in at 2 a.m. on June 17 to call all the students who were scheduled that morning to tell them not to make the drive to campus, which was closed because of the tornado.
     
  • All refund checks have been processed for those campers whose stay was cut short by the campus closure.
     
  • As a reminder, all of the secured sites are for authorized personnel only. Unauthorized people are considered trespassers and are subject to arrest. This is for safety reasons, as heavy pieces of machinery are being used and materials are being transported across the sites. This includes Memorial Park, Pioneer Stadium, Southwest Hall, Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons, Engineering Hall, the Greenhouse and the soccer/football practice fields.

Posted on June 25, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

  • The Pioneer Relief Fund has collected more than $3,000 already to assist campus community members who were displaced or suffered losses during the June 16 tornado. To give to the Pioneer Relief Fund, visit the web page. To apply for assistance, contact the UW-Platteville Foundation at foundation@uwplatt.edu or 608.342.1186.
     
  • Chancellor Dennis J. Shields, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Robert Cramer and University Police Chief Scott Marquardt will hold a press conference at 1:15 p.m. today to discuss damages and the recovery efforts.
     
  • The next open forum is set for Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, room 136.
     
  • University Counseling Services has available hours from 9 a.m. to noon each day in Royce Hall, room 220. No appointments are necessary.
     
  • Selected media stories are now linked off the university front page, including a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about the UW-Platteville Formula Society of Automotive Engineers, who were getting ready to leave for nationals and were in Engineering Hall when the tornado struck and a KWWL piece on the quick-thinking and well-trained resident directors, resident assistants and camp counselors.
     
  • Volunteer opportunities will be announced soon through an e-mail message.

Posted on June 24, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

  • One of the most visible sights of the recovery and restoration comes into town this week, possibly as early as tomorrow. A 250-ton crane will be erected in the Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium parking lot as work will begin on the stadium repair. Field experts will be on-site today to evaluate the condition of the artificial surface.
     
  • The UW-Platteville Heartland Festival will hold a special benefit performance of next to normal this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Theatre. All tickets are $10, and proceeds will go to the Platteville Tornado Relief Fund. For tickets and information, call the University Box Office at 342-1298.
     
  • Provost Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder arrived home from her trip and toured the damaged buildings and Memorial Park Monday. Chancellor Dennis J. Shields returned from China late last night and will see the impacted areas today for the first time.
     
  • Representatives from the various university governance groups (faculty, academic staff, classified staff and student senates) met with Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Robert Cramer, University Police Chief Scott Marquardt, Facilities Management Director Peter Davis and Public Information Officer Paul Erickson Monday for updates and the opportunity to ask questions on behalf of the constituents they represent. The group will convene again in four weeks.
     
  • Dr. Laura Bayless and the 80-day subcommittee chairs met Monday to begin mapping out contingency plans in case some of the damaged areas are not ready for the start of the fall semester.

  • The next open forum for UW-Platteville faculty, staff, and students is set for Thursday at 10 a.m. in Doudna Hall, room 136.


Posted on June 23, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

  • The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has transitioned from emergency management to recovery and reconstruction following the tornado that touched down one week ago tonight. Damage assessment is almost complete on the five buildings (Southwest Hall, Bridgeway Commons, Rountree Commons, Engineering Hall and the Greenhouse) impacted and Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium. Work has already begun, as windows have been boarded, and roofs have been patched. Demolition of water-soaked carpets, furniture and other damaged items is occurring. 
     
  • The Pioneer Relief Fund is now available. To donate, go to the homepage or directly to https://www.uwplatt.edu/foundation/pioneer-relief-fund. This is the only fund fully associated with the university, and 100 percent of the money stays within the campus community. Also, the City of Platteville has established a Platteville Tornado Relief Fund at Mound City Bank, 25 E. Pine St., Platteville. The money will go towards businesses and residents who were affected. 
     
  • Unfortunately, this kind of disaster is ripe for scams. Please be aware of people asking for money, looking to make cheap repairs, etc. Check your sources before agreeing to anything. If you have any questions, call the UW-Platteville Foundation at 608.342.1186.
     
  • Because of the amount of glass that was scattered throughout campus, the university is recommending you do not walk barefoot, for your own safety.

Posted on June 20, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

Updates for June 20, 2014

  • The UW-Platteville Foundation has created a Pioneer Relief Fund and will match the first $10,000 donated towards relief efforts. The link for this fund will be posted on the website homepage very soon.
     
  • Inspectors have determined that the six structures impacted by the tornado are repairable. They were Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall, Rountree Commons, Engineering Hall, Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium, and the Greenhouse. 
     
  • While university officials are still assessing the damage, an 80-day planning committee has begun meeting to discuss contingency plans for the university. Dr. Laura Bayless, assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs, is chairing the committee. Leading subcommittees are Dr. Joanne Wilson, academic team; Mark Molesworth, stadium; Linda Mulroy-Bowden, housing; Kelly Jo Hadfield, events; and Sherry Nevins, other situations. Also on the steering committee are Lew Bettinger, financials; Dr. Christina Curras, city liaison; Pete Davis, physical plant; Paul Erickson, public information; Colleen Garrity, information technology; and Mark Wooley, project manager. To offer assistance to this committee, send an e-mail to baylessl@uwplatt.edu and indicate the areas you would be willing to help.
     
  • Volunteer opportunities are being organized for the UW-Platteville campus community. Details will be released next week.  

Posted on June 19, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

Damage assessment continues 

Clean-up and damage assessment continues at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville following an EF-2 tornado that ripped through the southwest side of campus late Monday evening.

The tornado significantly impacted Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall, Engineering Hall, the Greenhouse and Pioneer Stadium as well as Memorial Park. Damage included broken windows, partial roof destruction, bent light towers at the stadium, downed and split trees. There were no fatalities and no significant injuries that required medical attention on campus.

“Thanks to the first responders, community members, faculty and staff who have been working tirelessly to take care of those affected by the storm and clean up the debris the tornado left behind,” said UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. “They have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time.”

Assessment activities are continuing with UW-Platteville staff, UW System staff, insurance teams and engineering groups. No dollar amount has been determined, and no dates for the building re-openings have been set yet.

The impacted buildings have been secured with fencing, and only authorized personnel are allowed into the sites.

“The recovery process will take time, but rest assured UW-Platteville will be ready to serve all of our students this fall,” said Chancellor Shields. “More than any natural disaster, it is dedication and commitment that defines a community. And, while we will most certainly face challenges in the days and weeks ahead, we choose to view the process of rebuilding as a source of opportunity.” 

All those staying in the impacted residence halls were successfully transported to other residence halls.

Activities, including classes and New Student Registration, were cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday. NSR resumed on Thursday.

Youth camps were cancelled for the remainder of the week. Camps will resume next week, with the exception of the scheduled engineering camp, which will not be held.

Opportunities for volunteers and/or monetary donations are being organized.

Continued status information will be posted on the university website at www.uwplatt.edu. Social media channels, including the university Facebook page and Twitter account will also be posting updated information.


Posted June 19, 2014, 11:30 a.m.

A message from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields

The UW-Platteville community recently experienced the devastating power of two tornadoes. On Monday evening an F2 tornado damaged Engineering Hall, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall, Rountree Commons, Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium, and the Greenhouse as well as the surrounding community. 

Thanks to the first responders, community members, faculty and staff who have been working tirelessly to take care of those affected by the storm and clean up the debris the tornado left behind. You have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time. 

Even though I am currently in China on university business and unable to physically assist on campus, I am in constant communication with Vice Chancellor Rob Cramer who is leading efforts to ensure everyone’s safety and assessing the damage. 

The recovery process will take time, but rest assured UW-Platteville will be ready to serve all of our students this fall. More than any natural disaster, it is dedication and commitment that defines a community. And, while we will most certainly face challenges in the days and weeks ahead, we choose to view the process of rebuilding as a source of opportunity. 

We have gotten calls from around the state and the Tri-State Region offering their support. My personal thanks to Governor Scott Walker, Representative Travis Tranel, Senator Dale Schultz, Congressman Ron Kind, the Platteville City Council and its staff, President Duane Ford of Southwest Tech, President Wie of Northeast Iowa Community College for their immediate offers of support. I am sure we will need to call on their assistance in the coming weeks as we work to prepare for the opening of classes in a few weeks.

Together, it is the tremendous response to these events that animates our Pioneer spirit. Thanks again to everyone in our community who has answered the needs of the moment. 

—Chancellor Dennis J. Shields


Posted June 18, 2014, 3:30 p.m.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will resume all normal activities Thursday, June 19. That includes classes, New Student Registration, Placement Testing, and the Pioneer Activity Center.


Posted June 17, 2014, 5:30 p.m.

Summer session classes are cancelled for Wednesday, June 18, as the University of Wisconsin-Platteville continues to assess and clean up the damage from Monday's tornado, which the National Weather Service has categorized as an EF-2.
 
The university has declared a Level 2 closure, which means classes are cancelled, and the campus is closed to the public. New Student Registration has been postponed, and the Pioneer Activity Center is closed. All employees are expected to report as scheduled. Those who are scheduled to work in Engineering Hall should report to Ullsvik 1320 no earlier than 8 a.m. 
 
The tornado damaged Engineering Hall, Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall, the Greenhouse and Pioneer Stadium. Usage in those facilities is suspended until they are declared safe.

 


Posted June 17, 2014, 1:30 a.m.

Because of extensive storm damage Monday night, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is closed on Tuesday. This is a level three closure, meaning classes are canceled, the institution is closed to the public, and only essential employees are to report.

No major injuries have been reported, but some buildings sustained structural damage. Power is still out on campus and across much of the city.

The southwest side of campus sustained damage during the storm. Buildings impacted included Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall, Engineering Hall and Pioneer Stadium. Damage included some broken windows and some possible structural damage.
 

Posted June 17, 2014, 12:05 a.m.
 
Strong winds caused severe damage across UW-Platteville on Monday night, June 16. Please avoid campus if possible until further notice.

 

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