The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) is moving in to its new campus located at Ilha Verde, as planned. Although significant damage was caused to the new campus by the passage of the recent typhoons, Rector Peter Stilwell shared in an interview that, “the move will be completed by the end of this week. Next week, we already have a meeting organized in the new campus [as well as] the orientation [day] for the new students,” Stilwell said.
He added, “settling in will probably take a while… We know that these changes always have a relatively long transition period. In our case this is made particularly difficult because of the recent typhoon.”
According to the Rector, “most of the buildings stood up very well, windows were not broken with exception of one or two that [were hit by] something that was flying around. There were infiltrations of water in one or two places but it wasn’t significant.” He continued, remarking, “what is worst – and will cause us a great deal of work in the future – was the flood that came in from the river and went down to our underground basements.”
The basements of the campus are where most of the sporting facilities and functions rooms are located. Adding to that, as Stilwell noted, the basements were serving, at the time, as a temporary storage place for books as well as equipment that were waiting to be installed. “We had it kept in the basement thinking that would be a safe place, [but it wasn’t] and those were completely destroyed.”
Continuing to address the issue, Stilwell noted that because of this natural disaster the institution was forced to learn the vulnerabilities of the campus very quickly, stating that, “we have to sit with the architects and see how we can avoid such situations from occurring again.”
The Rector gave examples of the work ahead, “we need to redo the whole basketball court, the swimming pool [area], and the gymnasiums… And that can take some time [also] because it requires funds and [at this time] we aren’t sure what kind of funds we can rely on.” He noted that although the University has insurance, it “has its limits” and in regards to the government promising funding to schools and universities, it is still unclear how much that could cover.
Questioned on the sum needed to cover such damage, Stilwell preferred not to throw out any concrete numbers as he mentioned that the assessment on the extension and value of the damage is currently being done with the insurance company. Nevertheless, he assured that it would total in the “many tens of millions.”