Friday, Mar 01, 2013 @ 5:12 pm
Cause of the Fire
Despite reports in the news media, the cause of the February 15 fire in Main Building remains under investigation by the Fire Department of New York and no official ruling has been made. The Institute will provide the Pratt community with updates as they become available.
Status of Main Building
Main Building remains closed to anyone other than investigators, Pratt's facilities team, and the professionals hired by Pratt's facilities team to clean the building and help with the recovery effort. The estimated date for return to the building is six months while the Institute installs a completely new fire alarm system. Pratt has hired a temporary project manager in the facilities office to help develop and manage a timeline and plan for the move back into Main Building. The Institute is working with an excellent engineer and architectural firm to develop the plan and design for a new green roof and other structural changes that will need to take place.
The facilities team is working to provide temporary restrooms on Grand Walkway for occupants of South and East Halls who had used the facilities in Main. The Institute is exploring the option of installing new permanent restrooms in these buildings as well.
Pratt Institute staff worked tirelessly through the weekend of February 15 to relocate 40,000 square feet of needed space in just a matter of days. Thanks to their efforts, all Pratt classes were held Monday, February 18 as scheduled in their new spaces. The Institute designated space for the offices that were affected and those relocations were assigned and communicated on inside.pratt.edu. Pratt also temporarily relocated the senior fine arts studio spaces with the goal of getting studios ready for students as quickly as possible.
Work began on Monday, February 25 on the renovation of the ARC building to accommodate studios and classrooms along with a new lighting and pin-up gallery. The floor plan has been shared with all affected students and can be accessed on the Fire Recovery page of the website or by contacting your department chair. These new classrooms and studios are scheduled to be ready for occupancy on Monday, March 18 after Pratt's Spring Break. The Institute is working to provide adequate security to these spaces as well as swipe-only access. Studio spaces will continue to be open 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Student Support and Recovery
Pratt's division of Student Affairs has been working full-time since the fire on reaching out to affected students individually and setting up group meetings to address and hear concerns. The Office of Health and Counseling is working with affected departments on setting up collective sessions to help deal with the trauma of such significant loss. The President of Pratt Institute and Vice President for Student Affairs will be holding a meeting on Monday, March 4 for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the painting program to address additional concerns. For more details, visit inside.pratt.edu.
The Institute created a Fire Recovery Task Force Group, open to all current students, faculty, and staff. The group was formed to coordinate and expedite programs and services to Pratt students in the fire recovery effort. It has met twice and held a Town Hall meeting last week to answer questions from the Pratt community regarding the recovery efforts. More than 100 members of the Pratt community attended.
Pratt's recovery team has removed all student artwork from Main Building and it is being stored in a secure and dry place. The Institute plans to distribute the salvaged artwork and materials to students upon their return from Spring Break and relocation to the ARC building on Monday, March 18. All work will be returned to the new spaces in the ARC to avoid any subsequent damage and provide adequate security. The individual academic departments will organize and label the work and give their students a time frame for picking it up. At the time the work is returned, it will be assessed for soot damage and whether or not cleaning services to remove soot are needed.
Pratt's first priority in all of its planning was to ensure that those students who have been most affected were working again as soon as possible, particularly the students who lost studios and work. The Institute provided Utrecht gift cards to each of the senior fine arts students with a studio on the sixth floor of Main Building as well as to junior and sophomore students who had supplies in classrooms and lockers on the fifth floor. Utrecht also provided additional gift cards to seniors and donated a significant amount of materials to be distributed by the Fine Arts department. The Institute continues to provide donated supplies to students to ensure they have the materials they need to keep working.
End of Year Show
The Institute is working on developing some exciting options for an end-of-year group show of work by graduating students and hopes to have news on that in the coming weeks.
Campus Master Plan
Many in the Pratt community are asking if Main, which is a landmarked building, will be restored or renovated in the same way it was before the fire. The Institute is considering this question very carefully along with its consultants who continue the important work on the Institute’s Campus Master Plan, which had begun months before the fire. Pratt is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to attend open sessions on the Campus Master Plan, to be held next week. For more details, please visit inside.pratt.edu.
The support the Institute has received in the form of in-kind gifts of supplies and cash gifts from within and outside of Pratt has been extraordinary. All supplies have been distributed and the students have extensive supplies to get back to work. Pratt's division of Institutional Advancement has reported more than $20,000 in cash gifts from more than 100 individual donors and several other major pledges from alumni and others.
Tax-deductible contributions can still be made on the Institute's secure giving website at www.pratt.edu/give. Donations made to the Recovery Fund will be directed first to cover the immediate needs of students and faculty who experienced losses as a result of the fire. Over the longer-term, this Fund also will help in the rebuilding efforts to restore Main Building. All inquiries and offers of gifts in-kind should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and these efforts will be coordinated for distribution by the Fine Arts department according to demonstrated needs of those affected by the fire.
Posted in • Fire Recovery