Around 5 o’clock Sunday morning, a fire broke out in the mechanical building behind the Swaid and Christy Swaid Center for Health Sciences and the Henry and Grace Farrar Center for Health Sciences buildings. According to Danny DeRamus, director of physical resources, the cause of the fire is unknown at this time and the building is a total loss.
In addition to heating and cooling of the health sciences building, the mechanical building housed fiber optic cables that carried network connection to both the health science buildings as well as the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Music and Communication building (Reynolds), Ganus Athletic Center (GAC) and the Physical Resources Department (PRD) building, according to assistant vice president of information systems and technology Mike Chalenburg.
“The fiber that runs between the Administration Building, where the main network hub resides, and the Farrar and Swaid buildings passed through the mechanical building that burned,” Chalenburg said. “The portion of the cable within that building was destroyed. We are exploring ways to connect fiber (from) the Farrar and Swaid buildings to another location.”
The most recent update from Chalenburg reports that “network service to the PRD, GAC and Reynolds has been restored via an alternate fiber optic path.” Chalenburg said that he expects Internet service to the Swaid and Farrar buildings will be down through the next “few days, at most.”
According to assistant provost for the Center for Health Sciences Dr. Julie Hixson-Wallace, and dean of the Carr College of Nursing, Dr. Susan Kehl, classes are still on schedule tomorrow for the Farrar and Swaid buildings.
“We have asked students to come dressed in layers to be prepared to adapt to temperature variations in the building due to the heating/cooling system being out,” Hixson-Wallace said. “We have also asked them to download any electronic materials they need from Canvas before coming to the building since there will be no Internet access except through personal data plans or personal phone hot spots.”
In addition to the Internet access and heating and cooling systems being down for the health science buildings, the phones are also out; therefore, Hixson-Wallace has asked that students email or text faculty and staff with questions.
“We also use an electronic exam taking system known as ExamSoft that requires exam upload at the end of the exam,” Hixson-Wallace said. “For the class having an exam tomorrow, they’ve been given a heads-up that they will have to upload that completed exam from another Internet-enabled location (e.g. Starbucks, another location on campus, home, etc.).”
Kehl said that two classes in the College of Nursing have tests tomorrow and she has notified faculty that the tests have been re-scheduled to occur in the Brackett Library lab.According to DeRamus, restoration of the heating and cooling systems to the Farrar and Swaid buildings will “hopefully be restored within two weeks.”
DeRamus said that on Monday physical resources department will check with vendors to bring emergency heating and cooling equipment to the buildings.