FEMA Awards UVI $350K to Make STX Dormitories Hurricane Resistant

The Delta M. Jackson Dorsch Complex dormitories on the University of the Virgin Island's St. Croix campus are getting federally-funded retrofits to handle hurricane-force winds and rain. (UVI photo)
The Delta M. Jackson Dorsch Complex dormitories on the University of the Virgin Island’s St. Croix campus are getting federally-funded retrofits to handle hurricane-force winds and rain. (UVI photo)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded $350,601 to the University of the Virgin Islands to mitigate risks associated with hurricane-force winds and rain, according to a news release from the university.

The wind retrofit is for the Delta M. Jackson Dorsch Complex dormitories, student center, and server room at the campus on St. Croix. It will include improvements to the existing building envelopes, doors, and window openings and hardening of the rooftop and electrical equipment in accordance with current building codes.

“This award is a major contribution to improving the safety, quality, and durability of our residence hall, student center, and other student-focused facilities. Our students are the heart and soul of our work, and FEMA’s support allows us to fulfill our mission in a more meaningful manner,” UVI President David Hall said in the release.

The enhancements will meet American Society of Civil Engineers requirements for educational facilities and others that, if damaged, would impact vital services. They are designed to withstand wind speeds as high as 180 miles per hour.

“UVI’s on-campus residence hall is a home away from home for students. Maintaining a safe and comfortable environment in the face of an impending disaster is critical to fostering learning,” Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne Williams-Octalien said in the release.

“Mitigating the risks posed by hurricane winds, allows the University to recover quickly and regain normalcy after weather events,” she said.

The residence halls include 17 three-bedroom suites in eight two-story structures. The student center is an adjacent one-story structure that houses a combination auditorium/cafeteria, the Office of Student Activities, student activities lounge, fitness center, and bookstore.

The total budget for the project is $2.8 million. Spending on the first phase includes a technical feasibility assessment, as well as engineering and design. The second phase funding will cover project construction to completion.