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Bethel continues recovery from flooding, storms

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College continues to deal with the aftermath of heavy rainfall and associated flooding that has been ongoing since late July.

Richard Rempel, North Newton, retired Bethel math professor and caretaker for Sand Creek Trail on campus, closed the trail temporarily on Aug. 8, after an Aug. 5 storm with winds in excess of 60 miles per hour brought down several trees on the trail.

In addition to the fallen trees, Rempel said, he was “worried about” three more that were leaning.

Wood chips have washed off between a mile and a mile-and-a-half of the trail, leaving a muddy, sometimes slippery surface, but the trees pose the most danger, Rempel said.

Both college staff and professionals continue to work at cleaning and drying out the Memorial Hall basement and Thresher Gym, which were flooded by the overflowing Kidron-Martin Canal just north of both buildings following heavy rainfall July 29.

While it looked at first like the gym floor was ruined, Allen Wedel, vice president of business affairs, now says it's possible the floor is recoverable.

“The [insurance] claims adjustor and NCRI [National Catastrophe Recovery Inc.] are telling us that it might be okay,” Wedel said. “We will let teams practice on it soon, and the claims adjustor will return in two weeks to give us his evaluation of the floor.”

Bethel fall athletes arrived on campus Aug. 10. These include the volleyball team, which needs to practice in the gym, with their first home game scheduled for Aug. 30. 

“The Goering Hall weight room and locker room has been repaired,” Wedel added, “and is being used by the athletes who arrived [Aug. 10]. The Mem Hall basement is coming along, but it will be another week before new carpet is laid. Haury Hall is just fine – we replaced the carpet squares, and students moved in last Saturday.”

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