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  • Sydney Umstead, Asst. News Editor

Three Months Later; A Look at Lyons' Damage

By Sydney Umstead, Asst. News Editor

Following the damage to Lyons Hall in January, Canisius College administrators had to navigate their plans for the fast-approaching spring semester. Now, students, faculty and campus organizations are tackling their own loss of a building that was near and dear to their hearts.

The Loss of The Marie Maday

Little Theater, Canisius’s theater arts club, lost its former stage to the massive amounts of water damage in Lyons Hall where the Marie Maday Theater is located. This meant Little Theater president Brianna Propis and other members of the club’s e-board not only had to find a replacement stage but also had to completely change their plan for the semester’s musical.

This loss was not the only piece of the club that felt the force of the blizzard that damaged Lyons Hall. All of Little Theater’s props, costumes, equipment, etc. were completely destroyed. But Student Life provided a new stage in Montante Cultural Center which gave the club an opportunity to accomplish their dreams for the spring semester.

With this, the production of “Grease” was born. Propis stated that “Grease” was chosen for a variety of reasons: “It's so well-loved, iconic and fun.”

The club has faced some difficulties with holding rehearsals in Montante, as it is a popular spot to hold events; however, the cast and crew have remained dedicated to the show and were able to have some of their rehearsals there. As Propis said, “I have full faith that ‘Grease’ will rock and roll smoothly into Montante this weekend.”

Montante is also larger than the previous theater, which meant changing the production to fit the space, which Propis explained was accomplished through the hard work of such a talented cast and crew.

“We're basically focusing on and presenting the production at its core: polished performances, show-stopping choreography from Sierra [Winterhalter], costumes, hair and makeup and a few props,” said Propis.

Propis notes that Little Theater has not heard much regarding the Marie Maday Theater’s reconstruction outside of potential plans. However, in an Instagram post, Little Theater expressed how deeply the entire club felt towards their now damaged home space. “Grease” will now premiere March 25 and 26 in Montante Cultural Center.

Staff in Lyons Move To Churchill Tower

As the lower floors of Lyons Hall saw the most damage, many of the faculty offices were moved. Those in the communications and political science departments were suddenly uprooted from their previous spaces and relocated to Churchill Tower.

In an email correspondence, Daniel Higgins, associate professor of journalism, recounted how he first learned about the damage to Lyons Hall. He arrived on campus in pursuit of retrieving his laptop that he had left in Lyons Hall over winter break. When he arrived, though, he saw that the building was “surrounded by emergency fencing, and there were trucks from Servpro, a company specializing in cleaning up after floods and other disasters.”

He explained that a construction employee had offered to FaceTime him from inside the building so that he could see the damage. “When the Servpro guy reached my office, I saw that the bookshelf had partially toppled, and various items were in disarray,” said Higgins.

The shock did not end there for Higgins, as he came to learn that his work laptop was flooded with so much water it “poured out of its USB ports” and that he had also lost books and other personal items, as “even [his] desk drawers were filled with water.”

Even though the change from Lyons Hall to Churchill Tower was a shift for many faculty members, Higgins expressed that he is happy in his new location, as it allows him and his colleagues to be closer to the students and other faculty members. He also noted that his newfound space was “cozy and well-designed.”

“As we're gradually putting the pandemic behind us, this physical proximity to our colleagues and students has been a positive change,” Higgins concluded.

Parking on Campus Without Lyons Hall

Commuter students have also been tasked with finding parking spaces nearer to their classes amidst many Lyons Hall–dominated courses shifting into classrooms in Old Main.

For many, parking on campus had already proven difficult since the parking garage was under construction, but now there is a measurable influx in street parking as the Lyons Hall parking lot is further away from where students' classes are being held.

Marissa Burr, a sophomore at Canisius College, commutes to campus and has noticed cars become more prominent on her street, since it is closer to some areas on campus the Lyons lot.

“I only bought my parking pass at the beginning of the year because I had a class in Lyons, and now I never use it because the convenience factor just isn’t there anymore,” said Burr, a creative writing major.

There is also uncertainty regarding what the loss of Lyons Hall could mean for the work that was being done to the parking ramp. Burr speculated how it seems as though the progress “has now been stalled.”

Commuter Student Association President Ben Deakin, however, said that campus parking progress has been made since the initial damage to Lyons Hall, as contractors and construction workers are no longer parking in commuter lots.

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