Dempster to be Closed Through Mid-August

dempsterhallphotoCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 18, 2013 – Robert A. Dempster Hall at Southeast Missouri State University will remain closed through mid-August following a fire that broke out Monday, July 15, on the roof of the building.

University officials met with structural engineers, insurance adjusters and representatives of a cleanup firm Wednesday. University officials learned the central atrium and parts of the building’s south wing have roof decking damage. In addition, there is extensive water damage on the second floor of the south wing along with significant smoke damage that will require new partial roofing, new carpet and paint.

Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, said the west wing has no structural damage, but some smoke damage.

“Our first priority will be to get the west wing and classrooms ready for the fall semester,” she said.

To accomplish this, Dempster Hall will not reopen until mid-August. At that time, the building may be reopened with bare, concrete floors, and carpet replacement will likely extend into the fall semester and installed over a series of weekends. This is necessary, she said, because there is no alternative space available to fulfill instructional obligations over the early part of the fall semester.

In the meantime, various offices previously located in Dempster have been temporarily relocated across campus. The President’s and Provost’s offices, along with Mangels’ office, are now operating in Kent Library. They had been temporarily housed in Dempster while Academic Hall is being renovated.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, pending a report from the state fire marshal, Mangels said.