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Detroit Mercy assists in Haiti school inspections

In conjunction with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Detroit Mercy organized two volunteer teams of engineers and architects to assist Haiti’s Ministry of Education in assessing damaged school buildings in Port au Prince during the month of March. Architecture professor Gilbert Sunghera, S.J. and alumnus Joe Coriaty ’78, a partner in the architecture firm of Frederick Fisher and Partners in Los Angeles, comprised the first team, who served as building inspectors from March 8-13. The second team of Architecture alumna Marie Haener-Patti ’80,’85, and professional engineer Nathan Galer from Seattle, served as building inspectors during the week of March 16.

In total, the Detroit Mercy teams evaluated the condition of 55 school buildings. According to Fr. Sunghera, approximately 60 percent of those schools were partially usable (though not by American standards), and about 15 percent were beyond repair. Team members completed a five-hour, online training program conducted by Architectural Engineering Professor Alan Hoback, in preparation for their assignment.

“It was wonderful to use our professional training and tap into the Jesuit network to help, “ says Fr. Sunghera. “All team members would go back in a heart beat.” Although the initial project is completed, Fr. Sunghera will work through the Jesuit networks to determine any future assistance.

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