As you know, there was a fire on campus on Friday, October 5. The fire was fully extinguished by our sprinkler system, and fire damage was limited to the Research + Industry Office and nearby hallways. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
The water used to extinguish the fire, however, caused a significant amount of water damage to walls and ceilings. These materials must be dried immediately to prevent the growth of mould, which can cause a variety of health effects. Based on typical restoration estimates, we hoped that classes could resume in a few days.
We soon learned, however, that our complex wall assemblies — specifically built to support the unique needs of an art and design university — made the restoration process much more challenging and time-consuming. An environmental engineering company has since been brought in to ensure that all materials affected by moisture are dried or removed and that absolutely no mould is allowed to grow.
In total, about one-third of the rooms on Level 3 and 4 suffered water damage and need restoration. Relatively few areas on Level 1 and 2 were affected. Unfortunately, the area of the library that houses the university archives was significantly impacted. Library staff are now working to recover damaged items. Equipment that resides within the walls was also damaged, impacting our electrical and communications infrastructure. This has since been repaired.
By closing the campus this past week, we are able to complete enough restoration work so that students can resume classes on October 15. There will still be areas that remain closed and under construction for several weeks. Because of this, many classes have been temporarily moved to other locations until the work is complete.
You will also notice that your classroom may have areas with missing drywall. Our priority is on making as many areas safe and usable as quickly as possible. Once that is complete, restoration crews will return to these classrooms and replace the missing drywall.
We recognize that each and every member of the ECU community will be touched by this incident in some way. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we all work together to put our campus back together again.
The Vancouver Police Department is investigating the incident and believes the fire may have been deliberately set by a person who broke into the building early in the morning while the campus was closed.
Yes. The academic calendar will be extended by one week to accommodate rescheduled classes. The assessment period will still end on December 18. There may also be extensions to grading deadlines. We will work with faculty to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by these adjustments.
Some lockers on Level 3 and 4 had to be moved to repair the walls behind them. As lockers are bolted together from the inside, we first had to cut the locks and open them. If any items were damaged by water, we have cleaned them and returned them to your locker. Paper that was too wet has been discarded. We also secured any items that could spill or break before placing a temporary lock on the locker.
If your locker was affected, please go to the Information Desk on Level 1 to receive assistance. Staff will show you the location of your locker and remove the temporary lock before giving you a new combination lock. The Info Desk staff are available to help from 9am–4pm.
All equipment loans have been extended until noon on October 15. Fines will not be applied for any equipment that was out while the campus was closed.
Yes. We will ensure ECU remains an inclusive and accessible place while restoration work is underway. We ask that you contact Student Services (604.844.3087 | email@example.com) before arriving on campus. As some hallways and elevators are temporarily closed, we will work with you to ensure you have access to any facilities that are currently available.
We recommend taking photos of any affected personal items to document the damage. Drop by Facilities in D2351 to pick up a damage assessment form. Complete the form and bring it to your dean in the Academic Affairs office, and we will determine how the university may be able to help you.
Yes. We hired experts to measure the indoor air quality of every room on campus on October 7. They found the air quality was safe and healthy — cleaner even than the quality of the air outdoors. We will test the air quality again the week of October 14 to ensure it remains excellent.
Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our students, staff and faculty. We have no reason to believe there is any ongoing risk to our community related to this incident. However, we have increased the round-the-clock security presence on campus while the restoration work is in progress. We are also reviewing our security protocols to see what can be learned from this incident.
You can find a list of contact information here.