University of Arkansas Estimates Ice Storm Damage and Cleanup at $700,000

A preliminary estimate by University of Arkansas administrators puts the cost of repairs and cleanup from the Jan. 27 ice storm at approximately $700,000, but that figure is expected to increase.

The estimate includes physical damage to the core campus as well as damage to other university properties in the region, including the Agricultural Research and Extension Station, Savoy Field Research Facility, Northeast Research and Extension Center, in Keiser, and the Livestock and Forestry Branch Station in Batesville. The bulk of the other expenses went to overtime wages for facilities management staff and the cost of contracted services with outside work crews, all involved in the campus cleanup.

“The university contracted with three tree services to help deal with the broken tree limbs and downed trees around campus," said Donald Pederson, vice chancellor for finance and administration. “In addition, we are contracting with a wood chipper service to make mulch out of the tons of debris we’ve collected on campus.”

The estimate does not include the cost of contracting for the wood chipper service  or possible overtime  expenses in other university departments, such as housing, University Police and Information Technology Services. 

The full scope of damage to trees and other plants on campus is still not known, and it may be several months before it is determined what will have to be replaced.

"We will be replacing many trees fairly soon," said Ron Edwards, director of operations for facilities management. “Others, we will have to wait until spring to get a better idea of the full extent of the damage and overall replacement requirements.”

Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for facilities management, said that the cost of the cleanup could have been even higher.

“The 700 students, faculty and staff who volunteered Thursday afternoon the week following the storm to help clean up debris saved us hundreds of man-hours and literally thousands of dollars,” he said.