Wooster Campus sees 2nd tornado in 7 years

A small tornado briefly touched down on CFAES’s Wooster Campus just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5. Thankfully, no one was injured.

OARDC’s historic Barnhart Rice Homestead (pictured) bore the brunt of the damage, losing half its roof and suffering extensive water damage to its interior as a result, but some buildings and greenhouses on the OARDC part of the campus saw moderate to light damage, too, such as broken panes and damaged roofs, and Secrest Arboretum lost nearly 80 trees. Ohio State ATI, fortunately, was out of the twister’s path.

“We’re thankful there was no damage to our residence halls and that all of our undergraduate and graduate students are safe,” CFAES Dean Cathann A. Kress said.

A little more than seven years ago, in September 2010, an EF-2 tornado struck and caused major damage to the OARDC portion of the campus. Among other things, it damaged the Agricultural Engineering Building beyond repair and toppled about 2,000 trees, most of them in the arboretum. But it likewise caused no injuries. In that storm, the Barnhart Rice home lost most of its roof and saw major interior damage, but was repaired.

Dave Benfield, Wooster Campus director, said plans are to restore the Barnhart Rice house, aka the Stone House, again to its original, pre-tornado condition.

Read more in CFAES’s press release about the tornado (including photos by Ken Chamberlain and Brian Hanna) and in a Wooster Daily Record story.

Cleanup and repair underway; progress reported

Meanwhile, in a Nov. 9 email to faculty and staff, Benfield reported the following recovery progress:

  • Cleanup of general debris is in progress by external contractors.
  • Tree limbs and down tree removal are in progress by grounds and arboretum staff and external contractors.
  • There were 79 storm-damaged trees.
  • In the Stone House, the open roof has been temporarily covered by Wooster-based Bogner Construction; mitigation of water damage is in process; drying out of the interior with 220 degree heaters to draw out moisture is underway; and assessment will follow to determine needed repairs.
  • In the greenhouses, cleanup of broken polycarbonate and glass panes and the installation of temporary coverings are in process by Strongsville-based LL Klink; movement of plant material is being coordinated by Chris Taylor of the Department of Plant Pathology; damage to research projects is still being assessed but appears minimal at this time; fan repairs are being addressed; the Madison Avenue greenhouses are up and running; and temporary repairs to the Gourley Hall greenhouses are scheduled to be finished Nov. 9.
  • Roof damage to other buildings and needed repairs are still being assessed.
  • Broken windows have been temporarily covered, and permanent repairs will follow soon.
  • Equipment damage due to electrical outages is being evaluated and addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • 45 acres of corn saw damage from severe lodging.

Report any damage to Facilities Services

Benfield concluded the email by saying, “As a reminder, as you continue to evaluate your respective buildings and work spaces in the aftermath of the tornado, please report all emergency needs to Facility Services via phone (330-263-3915), or email Joe Messenger for any nonemergency issues at messenger.47@osu.edu.

“Please refrain from conducting any repairs on your own until Facility Services evaluates and provides direction. We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we continue to assess the damage to the Wooster Campus, and we will continue to communicate information as it is available.

“I would like to send my sincere appreciation to all those involved in the speedy cleanup and recovery efforts.”