FAMU Declares State of Emergency As Storm Clean-Up Begins

May 10, 2024
Campus Damage near Lee Hall
Campus Damage near Lee Hall

Storm winds knocked down trees near Lee Hall and all across the Tallahassee campus. (Credit: Ernest Nelfrard)

Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., declared a state of emergency Friday as employees on the Tallahassee campus continued to assess and repair damage caused by high winds and rain during a severe thunderstorm.

“We appreciate all of the prayers and support from the community. Our employees are working strenuously to ensure we can restore normal operations as soon as possible,” Robinson said. “Although there has been substantial damage from the storm, we are thankful that there has been no loss of life or serious injuries reported.”

The storm knocked out electricity, damaged roofs, downed trees and utility lines, blocked roadways, and scattered debris across the campus. The university has been informed by city utility officials that power outages may persist through the weekend. Kendall Jones, associate vice president Facilities, Planning, Construction, and Safety, said staff has being deploying generators to provide back up electricity.


Debris was scattered across campus, including near the Efferson Student Union building. (Credit:Ernest Nelfrard.)

At least 15 buildings, including the Grand Ballroom, the Banneker Buildings and the old Plant, Operations and Maintenance (POM) Building, suffered some form of roof and water damage. The flashing on Lee Hall was also damaged, Jones said.  

The University received sheets of tarp from the State Division of Emergency Management to secure roofs until repairs are completed.

As a result of the damage and clean up efforts, the Tallahassee main campus will remain closed for extracurricular activities until further notice. Faculty and non-essential staff are asked to work remotely until instructed to return to the office. Other Professional Service (OPS) employees are permitted to work at the authorization of their supervisor.

While the cleanup proceeds, the campus remains unsafe for non-essential personnel. Work is being done by professionals; no volunteers are needed.

Following Friday’s closure, FAMU Developmental Research School (DRS) administrators will announce re-opening plans over the weekend. The Educational Research Center for Child Development’s (ERCCD) roof was damaged, and the facility will be closed at least Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for repairs. The Durell Peaden Jr.  Rural Pharmacy Education Campus in Crestview will reopen on Monday.

Monday, May 13 marks the start of Summer A and C semesters. Classes will be conducted via remote May 13-17 while the campus cleanup is underway.  Students are advised to contact their course instructors for more details. The add-drop period has been extended to Monday, May 20.

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health P4 Comprehensive Exam will still be administered on Monday, May 13. Staff will send exam site details directly to test takers.

Office of Housing staff said the nearly 200 students in on-campus residences will be moved to Phase 3 when it is safe to do so. Box lunches are being provided for those students.

imageHigh winds left debris spread across the Tallahassee campus. Photo Credit: Joseph Maleszewski