Less jolly today, very tired and glum.
I've been at the art school all afternoon, documenting and assessing damage, in preparation for tomorrow's start at cleaning up and preparing an insurance report.
The art school is one of the most damaged buildings on the ANU campus, and it will need both a new roof and an overhauled electrical system, not to mention all the smaller stuff like furniture replacement and machine renovations. Nearly all the map cabinets are waterlogged, including the one in the Director's office, full of very valuable works on paper. Yesterday the floors on both levels were shallow pools of water, which were sucked up last night. Today everything is damp, and smells dreadful, especially the (mercifully few) carpeted areas.
There are a small number of blessings; we are only 2 weeks into term, so the students hadn't really moved a lot of their possessions into their spaces, although a few desks had soggy journals and library books on them, which we tried to spread out a bit to dry.
Also there are small miracles: the book studio roof leaked straight down the middle, starting at the tip of the wooden work table (which is peeling and blistered) and finishing at the end of my beautiful letterpress workbench (traditionally called a 'stone', but is metal-topped, and has completely rusted, but is salvageable), but the cascading water missed all the electric appliances at one end and the press at the other. The type cabinets are damp, but not waterlogged, with only two typetrays filled with water as far as I can tell.
There are, however, lots of heartbreaks. The school is full of beautiful artwork by ex-students, much of it damaged. The school has been struggling for some time, and workshop resources like printers and computers and digital cameras have been scrimped and saved for and hard won; it's not sure how much has survived, especially the computers, for which the advice has been to let them dry out and turn them on. Every workshop has post-graduate students who have lost major parts of their research, and every staff member has personal goods in their offices. Those who live in the school flats have a lot of property damage.
And shocks: learning that only the school's assets are insured; no personal possessions are covered, which means that (among many other tragic tales) the poor art theory staff, whose office libraries are mostly of their own books, will have to lump the loss of those books if they are damaged.
We're trying desperately to get the place cleaned up enough for classes to resume on Monday, but whether the actual building will be legally inhabitable is another issue. The other tricky factor is that water is still moving around the building, trickling down from the sogged roof. It's also still raining, at least once a day, and there's every chance that new leaks will spring forth, so damage assessment is ongoing, and we'll have to be vigilant.
It's weird to be part of a community that is very loyal to its environment and dedicated to making a tough situation work out -- as an art school under funding threats is -- and then suddenly have it almost destroyed around us, though no-one's fault. We're all trying to rally, but shoulders have drooped. The next few days -- weeks -- months -- are going to be a very hard slog.