Colleges/Universities and Student Housing Properties Post-Irma

by Katie Sloan

Florida — Hurricane Irma brought massive amounts of rain and destruction to Florida, but much like with Hurricane Harvey in Texas, reports seem to indicate that on- and off-campus student housing properties fared well and suffered minimal damage.

The University of Florida in Gainesville reopens today for employees, with students reporting back for classes tomorrow, September 14. The Miami Herald reports that universities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will likely remain closed until Monday while school officials and contracted workers continue to remove fallen trees and assess building damage.

Florida International University reported to the Miami Herald that of the 20 buildings surveyed on the university’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus in West Miami-Dade, almost every building has some water damage but no flooding. The university is currently housing 137 special needs evacuees from Monroe County, and several hundred residents who have evacuated from the Florida Keys. The school is closed until further notice.

Miami Dade College is also closed until further notice, with school officials reporting that the university’s campuses primarily faced water damage and uprooted trees.  A crane collapsed and struck part of one of the buildings on the university’s Wolfson Campus, and has yet to be determined safe to enter, according to the Miami Herald

The University of Miami reports that all campuses will be closed until further notice, with the earliest projected opening being September 18. Florida Atlantic University will also be closed until September 18, with students allowed back to residence halls today on the university’s Jupiter and Boca Raton campuses.

Broward College, Nova Southeastern University, St. Thomas University and Barry University all remain closed until further notice.

EdR has reported that the company’s three communities in Florida received minor damage from the storm. EdR reported minimal damage at its Orlando and Gainesville properties, with both communities seeing a few broken windows, uprooted trees, damaged cars and carports, and minor water intrusion damage. On Tuesday, the Orlando asset was still without power.

EdR’s Miami property was also reported to have minimal damage. Power was restored on Monday night, and the community saw minor ground floor flooding and water intrusion damage. The company has already begun restoration efforts at the community.

Landmark Properties has also reported minimal damage at its assets in Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville. A significant portion of the damage was reported to be to the exterior of the properties, including siding, roofing shingles and landscaping. The company reports that things are almost back to normal, largely due to on-site teams working to secure any potential hazards prior to the storm, and distributing emergency preparedness information to teams, residents and guarantors in advance of, during and after the storm.

Dorothy Jackman, senior managing director of Colliers International’s national student housing group in Tampa, has reported that Tampa was largely unscathed in the hurricane. Small-uprooted trees, branches and debris were the main complaints seen in her area. Grocery stores and gas stations were open as early as Tuesday, and power was returning slowly earlier this week.

Student Housing Business will continue to report on the hurricane as news comes in. 

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