Home Campus 6,000 dance costumes lost in flood

6,000 dance costumes lost in flood

Patty Randall, the costume shop director for the theatre department, said the flood didn’t affect the theatre department. She said the theatre department rents costumes to everyone.
Patty Randall, the costume shop director for the theatre department, said the flood didn’t affect the theatre department. She said the theatre department rents costumes to everyone. DEREK EVANS | Scroll Photography

While many parts of campus were virtually untouched by the flood of Spring Semester 2014, others are still overwhelmed by lingering effects of its destruction.

Julie Knight, director of dance costuming, said the work required due to flood damage has consumed her life.

“It’s been a lot to deal with,” she said. “We all lost our summer.”

Knight said when the flood came she received calls and texts from students asking if she knew what had happened.

“I came down and the roof had caved in right as you walk in to the costume area,” she said. “Water was pouring in. So I spent that night helping to shovel the ceiling that had caved in.”

Knight said she was there for six hours that first night.

She said student volunteers began to show and ask how they could help.

“It was kind of just this sense of ‘Let’s just pitch in and do what we need to do’,” she said. “I was, of course, sickened when I walked in and saw all the damage that was happening.”

She said there was a sense of urgency to get everything out as quickly as possible.

“Basically, the flood happened and we had about 12,000 items that we were dealing with, trying to get drug out, make sure that mold didn’t set in, that type of thing,” she said.

Knight said she was amazed by how willing students were to help.

She said at first the dance department staff didn’t have instructions, so they sent volunteers to take costumes home and try to dry them.

After that, she said that they received instructions to dry clean everything they could and throw the rest away.

“We spent the seven weeks sorting, dealing with the dry cleaner, anything that we could and documenting everything that we were throwing away,” she said. “Over 6,000 pieces got thrown away.”

Knight said the worth of lost costumes was over $200,000.

“Some of those costumes we’d had for twenty years. Some were brand new; we just built them last semester,” she said.

She said they are working tirelessly now to rebuild what they need and prepare for coming shows.

“Now we’re trying to build new costumes for three shows and we don’t have what we need to do that,” she said.

Knight said they are currently creating and compiling three times as many costumes as they normally would for a show.

“It’s been the stress of inventorying every single item and documenting and what we did with every item and submitting that as a claim, then trying to figure out where we are to start building the shows that are coming ,” she said.

Knight also said she has made trips to LA to find necessary costume pieces.

“We have the funding now,” she said. “I just got back from a trip to LA, and we’re slowly just trying to figure out what we need and where we are.”

The problem with buying, she said, is that most items are sold in terms of small, medium and large, whereas everything the costume shop makes is custom-made for the dancers.

“We buy them and we still have to alter them,” We still have to deal with them in some way,” she said.

Knight said from now on they are putting all costumes in sealed containers to help prevent similar disasters in the future.

“Other than that, I don’t know how you plan for something like this,” she said. “I know that they’re doing some construction down there, too, so the water won’t leak through like it did.”

She said they will probably be back on top of everything by the beginning of the year, but for now their resources are limited and they don’t need people coming in to rent Halloween costumes.

“We’ve got way too much going on,” she said. “The two shows that are coming are back-to-back.”

She said they probably don’t have what people would want to rent for Halloween costumes.

Patty Randall, costume shop director for the theatre department, said while the dance department suffered because of the flood, the flood did not affect the theatre department’s costume shop.

“The sad thing is that their storage for all their costumes was down on the first level,” she said. “That’s why they got hit. But ours is here on the second level, so we didn’t get hit at all.”

Randall said it was a huge job for the dance department when the flood hit.

“It just came so fast and furious that I think they got several feet and all the costumes got wet,” she said. “There was a mess. They had to clean and launder all their costumes.”

She said many dance costumes aren’t meant to get wet.

“Specifically in dance, there are certain things you create that are never intended to be cleaned or anything,” she said. “They’re just intended for decoration, so it really destroys it.”

Randall said the theatre costume shop, which rents to anybody, has thousands of pieces available, ranging from costumes representing the beginning of time to present day.

“They are real people; they are events. We’ve done so many shows, so we have Roman and Biblical and Greek and Gothic and it just keeps going from there,” she said.

According to the BYU-Idaho website, the theatre costume shop, located in Snow 202, is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Appointments are necessary.

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