Politics & Government

Minor quake damage to Century II, arena, other Wichita structures

City Public Works Deputy Director Joe Pajor stands near a crack between concrete panels above the basement entrance of Century II discovered after last weekend’s earthquake. (Sept. 6, 2016)
City Public Works Deputy Director Joe Pajor stands near a crack between concrete panels above the basement entrance of Century II discovered after last weekend’s earthquake. (Sept. 6, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

Wichita officials have found minor damage to Century II, the Wichita Art Museum, the City Hall parking garage, the downtown library and other structures after Saturday’s earthquake.

Intrust Bank Arena, owned by Sedgwick County, also had slight damage from the magnitude-5.6 earthquake, which was centered near Pawnee, Okla.

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Local insurance agents said they did not receive calls about damage to homes on Tuesday, the first business day since the earthquake occurred.

The cost of the damage to city property from the earthquake isn’t clear yet. But Public Works and Utilities Director Alan King said repairs probably will cost less than the city’s $250,000 deductible.

Here is some of the damage identified by city staff members.

▪ Damage to a structural support pillar in the Wichita City Hall parking garage

▪ Flaking concrete on the exterior of the Rounds and Porter building next to City Hall

▪ “Numerous” cracks at the Wichita Police Department’s Patrol North and Patrol East

▪ A cracked window and fallen ceiling tiles at the Wichita Art Museum

▪ Cracks at the McAdams Community Center

▪ A cracked window at the central public library downtown

▪ A crack to the exterior of the parking garage next to the Expo Center

▪ Separation of concrete panels surrounding the basement entrance of Century II

▪ Some sheetrock damage at the Alford Library branch

▪ Wall cracks at Wichita’s Sewer Treatment Plant No. 2

“None of these appear to be structural – mostly appearance,” King said. “They will be repaired.”

King said it will take about a week to assess the rest of the city’s facilities.

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The city also saw a sudden drop in pressure in its water system right after the quake. “We increased our pumping, and that problem seemed to go away,” King said. He added the city is still trying to figure out what caused the drop in pressure, which typically happens because of a water main break.

Cracks at arena

The only damage reported to Sedgwick County facilities so far was a crack in the exterior window pane on the southeast corner of Intrust Bank Arena above Entrance B.

General manager A.J. Boleski said staff members also discovered a crack in the drywall on the inside of the arena.

“We are not certain that was caused by the earthquake,” Boleski said. “But the window definitely was.”

Boleski said they haven’t set a timeline to repair the window, which has a unique design.

“It’s kind of a labor-intensive install,” he said. “So it could be some time before we get it repaired.”

Earthquake insurance

Local insurance agents said the phones were quiet Tuesday.

“Not a one today, believe it or not,” said Lynette Whitney, an Allstate agent in south Wichita. “I was dumbfounded.”

Perhaps many people have already had their questions about earthquake insurance answered after other quakes, she suggested.

Agents said earthquake insurance is different from other types of insurance in that there are separate deductibles for the house, personal property and any detached buildings such as garages.

Rates and deductibles will differ from insurer to insurer.

Even if someone wanted to get earthquake insurance this week, they can’t.

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An industry standard mandates a 30-day waiting period on new policies following a strong earthquake, agents said. The insurance industry defines a strong earthquake as anything measuring 5.0 or higher, which would include Saturday’s magnitude-5.6 earthquake.

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

Daniel Salazar: 316-269-6791, @imdanielsalazar