An electrical fire in Seibert is having lasting impacts on professors, students and the Letters Collegium as the entire second floor of the building will remain closed off for the remainder of the year. 

The fire was caused by a computer in Seibert 202 on Sept. 11 in the early morning hours while the room was unoccupied. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Dean of Faculty Suzan Harrison said in an email that the second floor will remain closed until Autumn Term or the fall semester 2020. 

The college has decided to do a renovation of the building, but the full scope of the project is still being determined, according to Adam Colby, assistant vice president for operations and emergency management. 

Cleaning efforts have been concentrated to the first floor, which is currently open. 

According to Tonya Womack, director of campus safety and security, an outsourced third party company has been working to restore the building and clean up the damage. 

Rita Zwiefel, administrative assistant to the Letters Collegium has been relocated to the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences (CMLS) 96, sharing an office with natural sciences administration. 

“Our other faculty that has been directly affected, has been put across different offices on campus. Everyone has been really flexible and really wonderful in terms of handling the situation,” Zwiefel said. 

Zwiefel keyed into her office in the Letters Collegium on Sept. 17 to pick up her files. She found that all of the electronics had been removed for carbon cleaning. 

Christian Nielsen Associate Professor of Film Studies Christina Petersen was relocated last month from her office in Seibert 212 to the Center for Visual Arts (CVA) 215. For Petersen, moving offices has even benefited her in some ways. 

“This kind of worked out well because it lets me get to know the art building a little better and this is where the film studies production classes are taught, so I get to see these spaces a bit. I guess I get a new perspective on campus,” Petersen said. 

Colby included that the renovation plan will overhaul the HVAC system in the building, replace the carpet in most areas. 

Construction on the second floor should start as soon as the design and permits are done, Colby said. The first floor’s construction would begin after commencement on May 17. 

“During this time, all second floor Seibert staff and faculty will be moved into ‘more permanent’ temporary office space, primarily on the first floor of Franklin Templeton,” Colby said. 

Classes on the first floor of Seibert resumed meeting in Seibert on Sept. 18. 

News Editor

Gabrielle is a senior and a double major in creative writing and human development. She loves music and frequents concert venues.

Senior Editor

A senior editor, Elaine is a senior at Eckerd studying environmental studies and Spanish. In her free time she can be found watching movies, gardening and walking local parks and preserves.

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