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03/07/2010

On-Campus Classes Cancelled for Monday as Fire Investigation Continues

Quick Facts

 Classes scheduled for Owens Hall, the center-campus site of the fire, as well as offices in Bancroft and Bancroft Annex are being moved to other locations, effective Tuesday and for the remainder of the semester.
 No access will be allowed to Owens, Bancroft Hall, Bancroft Annex and Kinard Hall until damage and utility assessments are completed.

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Owens Hall
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University has cancelled all on-campus classes for Monday as fire officials continue to work at the scene of a fire that destroyed the roof of a classroom building on Saturday.
 
Classes scheduled for Owens Hall, the center-campus site of the fire, as well as affected offices in Bancroft Hall and Bancroft Annex are being moved to other locations, effective Tuesday and for the remainder of the semester. No access will be allowed to Owens, Bancroft Hall, Bancroft Annex and Kinard Hall until damage and utility assessments are completed, but the Kinard building is expected to be open by Tuesday. Students and faculty should log onto the on-line course schedule after 5 p.m. today to see the new location for any classes that were meeting in those spaces. Additional updates will be posted at http://www.winthrop.edu. Faculty whose offices are in affected buildings will receive notification about materials retrieval opportunities.
 
Winthrop’s spring break for students will be March 15-19, which means some students could be facing some disruptions in mid-term exam locations in the week ahead, but university officials said they are prepared to work through any special situations that arise due to the fire. Monday will be counted as a study day for students. All university staff should report for duty Monday unless their work sites are listed above.The West Center and Dinkins Student Center will be open as usual on Monday.
 
Fire officials say the cause of the fire remains unknown.
 
Firefighters returned to the roof on Sunday, as the fire continued to smolder through a multi-layer roofing system that had made the blaze a difficult one to fight. Ladder trucks attacked the fire from both the east and west sides of the building throughout the night to keep the flames from spreading. Area volunteer firefighters have been on scene to assist city firefighters as part of their existing mutual aid agreement. One firefighter was treated overnight for injuries suffered in a fall on interior steps of the building and is reported to be doing well.
 
Until firefighters clear the scene, university officials will not be able to finalize damage estimates, but indicate they expect that in addition to the roof, much of the interior will have to be replaced due to smoke and water damage. The three-story, 32,000-square-foot building contains 21 classrooms equipped with SMART technology, two computer labs, two conference rooms and a student lounge. It cost $6.5 million when it opened in 2007, making it one of the newest buildings on campus. The building is named for Winthrop alumna, volunteer and supporter Glenda Owens and her husband, Jerry, of Charleston.
 
Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio extended his thanks to the City of Rock Hill Fire and Police Departments, as well as York County Emergency Management officials and volunteer firefighters who assisted in the response.
 
For more information, contact Rebecca Masters, 803/323-2225, at Winthrop, and Katie Bartnikowski, 803/448-9745, at the city of Rock Hill.

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