ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University's Owens Hall will be closed to classes indefinitely, following a Saturday afternoon fire that destroyed much of the $6.5 million building's roof. All events on the Winthrop campus for Saturday evening are cancelled, and the public is encouraged to avoid the area until further notice, as firefighters stay on the scene to handle any hot spots.
City of Rock Hill Fire Department units received a call to the scene shortly before 3 p.m., and are still working to contain the fire. Investigation into the cause is continuing. No injuries have been reported. Lesslie, Bethel, Newport and McConnell's volunteer firefighters were on call to handle the other city fires during the event.
J.P. McKee, vice president of finance and business, indicated the building damage will be fully assessed next week before a cost can be determined. Students with classes in the facility should continue to check the university's Web site for further updates during the weekend.
Owens Hall is a 32,200-square-foot building that opened in 2007. Each of the 21 classrooms inside is equipped with SMART technology, and the facility also includes a computer lab, two conference rooms and a student lounge. The building is named for Winthrop alumna, volunteer and supporter Glenda Owens and her husband, Jerry.