ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University Board of Trustee members gave a collective pat on the back to employees and students for their response to a Owens Hall roof fire that resulted in approximately $3.5 million in smoke and water damage to the interior of the building in early March.
Through a resolution adopted unanimously at the quarterly board meeting on April 16, the board members noted that “stabilizing the scene, mitigating damage and beginning recovery of both University and personal possessions required coordination of and work with an extensive team of emergency service providers and fire recovery specialists,” and that campus personnel responded in a way that exemplified “team work, diligence and nimbleness in countless ways.”
Over the weekend of the March 6 fire, personnel had to relocate 225 course sections, or about 15 percent of Winthrop’s classes, while also finding temporary workspace for dozens of displaced faculty and staff, and coordinating materials recovery efforts so that classes could resume after only one day’s break.
Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio said re-opening of Owens likely won’t happen until spring 2011, but alternative space for fall classes will available in other buildings as long as necessary.
The Owens fire burned for more than 24 hours because of a complex roofing system on the building. Firefighters sprayed 1.2 million gallons on the flames, inundating the building interior and contents. DiGiorgio also extended his thanks and praise to city, county, volunteer and campus emergency service personnel who responded to the fire.