Crews to begin stabilizing roofFaculty with offices in the collapsed portion of Minard Hall will have their belongings exposed to the weather for two more weeks as crews work to stabilize the roof.
By: By Amy Dalrymple , Forum Communications Co. , The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — Faculty with offices in the collapsed portion of Minard Hall will have their belongings exposed to the weather for two more weeks as crews work to stabilize the roof.
Steel beams that will be used to shore up the roofline of the North Dakota State University building arrived in Fargo Thursday, and work is expected to begin this weekend.
“The concern is that if that roof would fail, we could be looking at a much more catastrophic situation than what we are right now,” said Facilities Management Director Bruce Frantz.
After the steel is in place, three columns will be added and the floors will be jacked up, Frantz said.
The process is expected to take about two weeks, at which time contractors may be able to go into the area near the collapsed wall to retrieve belongings.
For Dale Sullivan, who heads the English department, that means his rare book collection will be at risk, along with his diploma and a mug his 30-year-old son made as a preschooler.
Psychology associate professor Linda Langley will be unable to access her office or her lab, which took her a long time to get up and running.
And Kelly Sassi, in her second year as an assistant professor of English, fears that if she loses original research material, it could set her career back a year.
Officials explored the option of sending someone up in a bucket to retrieve those items, but they worry it would affect the stability of the building, Frantz said.
Covering the building with a tarp also could create problems, he said.
“The concern is if we get wind, that could act just like a sail,” Frantz said.
Employees in the portion of the building unaffected by Sunday’s collapse were allowed into the building for a few hours Thursday.
That portion, which is south of the 1929 addition, is expected to be open starting Monday. Classes are expected to be held in the areas unaffected by the collapse starting Jan. 11.
President Dick Hanson told faculty and staff during an open forum he’s committed to finding out what caused the collapse.
Frantz said officials have four or five ideas of what happened, and they’re focusing the investigation on the soils under the footing of the column that collapsed.
Graduate student Dan Reetz questioned the wisdom of going into the building before officials fully understand the cause of the collapse.
“The idea that we should have confidence in the structure of that building because we can’t see any danger is a bit fragile at this point,” Reetz said. “Up until two hours before the catastrophe, everything looked fine.”
Graduate student Florija Ajdari asked what kind of guarantee officials can give that the building is safe.
Frantz said Minard has three separate sections, and the other two were unaffected by the collapse.
Within the 1929 addition, the damage is limited to the northwest corner, but access to that portion is being restricted until it’s deemed safe, Frantz said.
Hanson said safety is the No. 1 priority.
“We will not let people into any parts of the building that are unsafe,” Hanson said.
Amy Dalrymple is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.