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President Eisler Applauds UREC Clean-Up Efforts

Ferris State UniversityThursday, July 13, 2017Over the Memorial Day Weekend, more than 100,000 gallons of water from the fire suppression line flooded the basement of the University Recreation Center (UREC). While the flooding caused significant damage to many areas of the basement, including the HVAC and electrical systems, we are thankful no one was injured.

The considerable amount of water set off an alarm notifying the Department of Public Safety, who then called in a Physical Plant employee to investigate the issue. From the moment that alarm sounded, the Ferris team, along with several off-campus contractors, did a tremendous job in assessing the situation and determining the next steps for remediation. Throughout the entire process, it was easy to see how incredibly dedicated our employees are to Ferris and how the actions of so many illustrated our core value of collaboration.

On behalf of the entire University community, I want to personally thank the following individuals for their quick actions and major sustained contributions over the last few weeks to clean and repair the building, and manage interim programming solutions:

  • Officer Aaron Humphreys and student dispatcher Helena Broden for investigating the alarm and dispatching for assistance.
  • Mark Eichenberg for his immense efforts and the countless hours he personally spent coordinating restoration efforts.
  • Physical Plant employees who responded on the initial day of the flood and continued to work to bring the facility back online: Phil Balliet, Kevin Jackson, Rick Marek, Wes Morrison, Brian Milligan, Kevin Myers, Terry Pierson, Tim Pullen, Ken Rodenhouse, Fred Roersma, Dale Schoner, Mike Troupe, Greg Vodry, Jeff Warner and Travis Workman.
  • The Big Rapids Fire Department for their partnership and spending many hours with us pumping water.
  • UREC staff Justin Harden, Cindy Horn, Cinthia Vander Sloot, Jayna Wekenman, Val Wells and all of our student employees for their flexibility in moving recreation events, relocating office operations and helping students and patrons better understand what happened and how we will continue to serve their health and fitness needs while repairs are made.
  • Transfer Center staff Angela Buys, Carol Quigley, Leah Melichar, DeeDee Stakley and Sandy Stoddard for relocating their operations during the clean-up period.
  • Mike McKay and Michele Upton for assessing the risks and coordinating the many details involved with submitting an insurance claim.
  • Members of the campus and Big Rapids communities who provided short-term employment opportunities for the UREC student employees during its closure.

We truly thank everyone for their cooperation, flexibility and patience during this unfortunate event, and we look forward to resuming full operations. While the University has re-opened the UREC, the pool and locker room will remain closed as repair efforts continue. Special thanks to the FSU Racquet and Fitness Center for making its facility available to UREC members, and to Fred Kindell, senior vice president and co-founder of American Hospitality Management, the company operating the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids. Mr. Kindell was instrumental in making special arrangements for UREC members to use the hotel’s indoor pool while repairs continue.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact the UREC staff at (231) 591-2679. For additional information related to the University Recreation Center visit
David L. Eisler, president