President Hanson gives Minard Hall update

President Richard A. Hanson says work continues to shore up the collapsed section of Minard Hall. During a Jan. 7 open forum for faculty, staff and students, he said, “We cannot and will not put people in danger.”

During the early morning hours of Dec. 27, a section of the northwest portion of Minard Hall collapsed. No one was in the structure at the time.

Hanson said structural steel has been brought in to stabilize the building’s roofline, and work is progressing to support the structure’s first floor. He expects workers will jack up the floors to a level position, beginning next week.

Also, a moving company is boxing up office items in areas that are considered safe. But Hanson noted teaching and research materials and equipment in offices in the northwest portion of the building have not been retrieved.

“The real issue isn’t the failure so much as it is the safety of people. We need to rebuild the credibility of the building so people feel safe going in,” Hanson told the nearly 100 people who attended the open forum.

“We are proceeding as appropriately as we can trying to commute a multiple set of needs,” he said. “There is concern about structural failure and who is responsible, but there are issues about all the materials and the servers in the building. People’s dissertations are on hard drives on computers in the building. These are extraordinarily issues as well.”

Faculty attending the forum urged students to be patient and understanding as spring semester begins, saying several instructors in the affected departments do not have access to their materials.

Bruce Frantz, director of Facilities Management, said a meeting with the City of Fargo inspectors is scheduled for later today, but he expects faculty and staff will soon be allowed back in the northeast portion building

“There are many challenges out there, and we don’t want to put anybody in an unsafe situation,” Frantz said. “We don’t want to put anyone at risk.”

In the meantime, counseling services are available to persons affected by the structural failure. Through the Employee Assistance Program, individual and group counseling is available through The Village Family Service Center.

“Each of you will have a different struggle based on what you may have lost. There are fears and emotional trauma involved here,” said Broc Lietz, associate vice president for finance and administration.

For more information on counseling services, contract Lietz at (701) 231-8958 or Colette Erickson, associate director of human resources, at (701) 231-8788.

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