Parts of Younes Campus set to open back up over next few weeks

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - It might be hot and humid this week, but restoration at the Younes Campus in south Kearney is right on schedule.

Workers with Paul Davis of Central Nebraska continue restoration in the Fairfield at the Younes Campus Thursday. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

Five restoration companies and hundreds of employees are cleaning up the hotels. Workers with Paul Davis of Central Nebraska cleaned out the Comfort Inn and Fairfield Thursday.

Part of the process includes reducing the high moisture levels. They do this with tubes, which act like a giant dehumidifier. The outside humidity does present a challenge as it pushes back on this process. Raul Funes, owner of Paul Davis of Central Nebraska, said this won't hurt things in the long run.

"Obviously we're still removing things out of the building. The doors are open so we're getting that humidity in, but once we're able to shut the building down, we're able to expedite with the amount of equipment," Funes said.

Flood damage always means the possibility of contamination. Workers are removing anything that got wet from the buildings.

Air scrubbers are on to remove pollutants from the air. The warmer it is, the faster everything dries up. Once that happens, their next step will be to sanitize everything with plant-based chemicals.

"If we're able to restore it rather than replace it, that's what we're here for. To reduce costs. Reduce the inconvenience as much as possible. That's what me and my team pride ourselves in," Funes said.

The Younes Campus remains closed more than a week after the flood hit Kearney. All six properties in the campus were hit. Some had as much as five feet of water inside.

"I'm feeling sick to my stomach, but I cannot show that," said Paul Younes, owner of the Younes Campus. "I need to stay positive because of my 500 plus employees that work for the company."

Many of Younes' employees are helping clean up the buildings. Younes said this gives them a way to still earn a paycheck while the hotels are closed.

The buildings will open up sooner than you think: Younes said if everything goes as planned, the first to open back up will be the Candlewood. That's scheduled to open on August 1.

The Younes Conference Center will follow on August 8. Younes said there won't be carpet inside, but it'll be open for business meetings.

By August 10 he hopes to have the Hampton in operation, and the Fairfield on August 20. The rest of his properties will follow later in the month.

"We're going to rebuild everything. We'll be better. We'll be stronger. And all of us united together. We're going to make it the best we can to take care of our customers as well as our employees," Younes said.

He said he doesn't know how much all the damages will cost at this time. Younes said they'll have a better idea of that once the Candlewood opens back up.