Floods shut down University of Queensland

By Tim Dean
Thursday, 13 January, 2011

UPDATED

The University of Queensland campus at St Lucia has been hit by the once in a century flood.

According to university spokesperson, Kathy Grube, water levels peaked this morning around 9am and appear to be receding today.

However, low lying areas of the St Lucia campus, including sports facilities, have been swamped, and several buildings have been hit by flood waters, including the Chemical Engineering building and the basements of the Sustainable Minerals Institute and UQ Centre.

Some residential buildings have also been affected by the flood waters.

Most other buildings, including the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, have been unaffected.

Grube said the university was hit by the 1974 floods, and several buildings on campus were damaged. In the wake of that event, the University decided not to erect any major buildings in the zone that was affected by the 1974 flood, excepting some minor buildings and sheds used for the sports facilities.

As a result, major construction since 1974 has been on higher ground, meaning most teaching facilities have been unaffected by the present flooding.

Power was cut to the campus after an outage yesterday, with back-up generators kicking in until power was restored last night. According to Grube, the generators kept essential equipment running, such as computer systems and refrigeration, so it's expected there's no damage or losses in those areas.

The university's Gatton campus remains isolated, although flood waters are receding there as well, according to university staff.

The Ipswitch and Herston campuses have not been affected by the flooding, but remain closed to allow staff and students to remain home.

The campus is officially closed and access restricted, with only security and a small number of staff remaining to secure the facilities and minimise flood damage.

The campus is not expected to reopen until Tuesday next week.

A massive clean-up operation is planned, although Grube expects the damage will be limited as no major facilities were affected.

According to a University of Queensland bulletin, security will remain on campus and may be contacted for a recorded update on conditions across the St Lucia, Ipswich and Herston campuses on (07) 3365 1234.

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