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Cox Fire Updates

July 20th, 2018
12:00 noon   

Thanks for your understanding as we continue to navigate this difficult situation together.

It remains a priority for us all to continue to meet the needs of our students.  As such, there is a process in place for the purchase of equipment and supplies for teaching and research purposes as we move into the fall academic season.

Faculty are asked to contact Queena Crocker-Smith with a prioritized list of needs so we are able to secure the most urgent items first.  We are reviewing requests daily and are working with the insurance adjusters, procurement office and Facilities Management to retrieve what is possible or as necessary, authorize the procurement of new equipment and supplies.

Please contact Queena (queena.smith@dal.ca or 902-893-6719) to discuss options.

Update on Old Cox

Faculty members will not have the ability to enter Old Cox as they did with New Cox.  While the building has been deemed structurally sound, Old Cox will need to be completely rebuilt on the inside.  High levels of contamination, humidity, water and debris has heavily damaged this section of the building and most of what was in Old Cox is not recoverable.

All hard drives identified from Old Cox have been removed and sent to Toronto where Newtron Group will be employing their most advanced techniques to retrieve data.

We know faculty members are eager for news of their teaching and research equipment. At the moment, it simply isn’t safe for people to be in the building. All reasonable attempts will be made to retrieve items essential to teaching and research.  It is important to know, however, that these items will be heavily damaged from smoke soot, water and/or fire.

On Monday, July 23rd, insurance adjusters, procurement staff and three department chairs will enter the building to agree on contents. A photographic catalogue of all contents in each room will be developed. These photos will be reviewed with displaced faculty and staff to determine priority items to be retrieved. Once the photo journaling process is complete, we can begin the process of valuing the contents and begin the replacement process.

Moving Forward

This week prioritized key equipment from Old Cox has begun to be removed by Firstonsite and transported to temporary leased space where it will be cleaned.

Facilities Management is moving quickly to secure contractors needed to rebuild Old Cox. The week of July 16th two tenders were issued - one for design services (architect) to determine how the facility will be rebuilt and one for a construction manager who will oversee the reconstruction. The estimated cost to rebuild Cox is expected to be between $12 and $25 million – depending on the extent of the damage.

Both tenders include a timeline that begins as soon as possible or September 30th with an aggressive date for completion by August 1, 2019.  More tenders connected to the reconstruction are expected in the weeks to come.

Space Allocation

The majority of classes and labs this fall will remain on campus.  Facilities Management has secured leased space in the old Sears location of the Truro Mall to be used for additional teaching, research, graduate student space and office space for the 2018-19 academic year.   Transportation will be provided to this off-campus location.

A large hoop greenhouse is currently being constructed on campus over the next week in the Demonstration Garden area to be used for fall planting required for teaching.

While we continue to transition into this recovery and restoration phase of our response to the fire in Cox Institute, we remain committed to communicating weekly and to answer your questions to the best of our ability with regular updates to our FAQ section on our website.

Our senior team continues to be in place to help answer your questions and concerns and can be directed in the manner below:

Research and grad students (including access to research supplies, space, etc.): Chris Cutler, chris.cutler@dal.ca

International students: Balakrishnan Prithiviraj, BPrithiviraj@Dal.Ca

Academics (including classroom issues): Emmanuel Yiridoe, emmanuel.yiridoe@dal.ca

Facilities and non-academic staff issues: Queena Crooker-Smith, Queena.Smith@Dal.Ca

Academic and staff issues: Keltie Jones, keltie.jones@dal.ca

Previous Updates

July 13th, 2018 4:00 p.m

As time passes since the June 20th fire in Cox Institute, our efforts begin to transition from an emergency response to our recovery response as we move forward together to meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff.

We are currently in the process of finalizing a lease for alternate teaching, office and lab space.  Our Associate Dean Academic, Emmanuel Yiridoe, is leading a committee to work with Facilities Management to evaluate this space for teaching and lab space capability.

Old Cox

We are currently reconstructing the roof envelope on Old Cox to make it water tight.  Cleaning is underway including clearing hallways of debris.

Next week, prioritized key equipment in Old Cox will begin to be removed and transported to temporary leased space where it will also be cleaned.

New Cox

Electronic equipment from New Cox is currently in the process of being cleaned with many items now ready to be collected.

We understand there are still many questions so we encourage you to please continue to refer to our list of FAQ’s as we will be updating it on a regular basis as part of our commitment to keep you informed. 

Please stay posted for weekly updates on dal.ca/agriculture, through email and our social channels.July 6th, 2018 3:30 p.m

It has been a little over two weeks since the devastating fire in Cox Institute and after our initial response we remain committed to providing an update to our campus community on a weekly basis.

We understand there are many questions which need to be addressed and as such we have compiled a list of some of the questions we are hearing through various meetings and discussions. 

Please continue to refer to this list of FAQ’s as we will be updating it on a regular basis as part of our commitment to keep you informed.  

Please stay posted for weekly updates on dal.ca/agriculture, through email and our social channels.

June 27th, 2018 4:00 p.m.

It is our commitment to keep you up-to-date and to share with you, relevant information as it becomes available regarding remediation work in Cox Institute.

New Cox (From Enrolment Services west to the Langille Athletic Centre)

Our top priority remains having New Cox remediated and restored for early fall.   As you can appreciate this process will take time and any compromise we make to satisfy other competing priorities will potentially put this date at risk.

Despite the air clearance for working without respirators, all contents and equipment in New Cox are contaminated with soot and in some cases moisture from a lack of ventilation and high humidity levels.

Some of these end products may be toxic and/or corrosive in nature.  This not only poses a health risk to the user, it also poses an electrical risk due to the conducive nature of carbon particles.

All items are latent with moisture and if powered on, will pose an electrical risk to the user as well as rapid and irreversible electrical damage.

It is recommended by the experts we’ve engaged that all electronic items, including computer equipment, should remain isolated from electrical power sources until they are taken apart and thoroughly inspected. Electrical and mechanical items, especially those with bare metal surfaces, should go through the same decontamination and cleaning process in order to reduce the possibility of corrosion from moisture.

FirstonSite Restoration Services will determine a process to remove all contents for decontamination and repair, or disposal.  During this process faculty, staff and students will have an opportunity to retrieve items once they are decontaminated and documented for insurance purposes.

Old Cox (From Enrolment Services East to Banting Building)

Due to significant damage in this area of Cox Institute, there are a number of high level risks that must be mitigated before any materials can be removed from Old Cox.  This will require detailed engineering controls and decontamination.  It is also a priority to have the roof patched and made safe.

Our Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Consultants are assessing both sections of the building today to determine the condition of all the building systems and infrastructure.

Once these conditions are met, FirstonSite will then be able to begin water and debris removal with full personal protective equipment and respirators. There remains extensive debris and water on the floors.

It is important to note that all room contents that are not in sealed packaging will be heavily damaged from smoke, soot, water and/or fire.

While we know this is disheartening to hear, it is important for our community to understand the extent of the damage to the building and to know we are working to the best of our ability to remediate the situation.

Our senior team is in place to help answer your questions and concerns and can be directed in the manner below:

Research and grad students (including access to research supplies, space, etc.): Chris Cutler, chris.cutler@dal.ca (after June 28, contact Keltie Jones)

International students: Balakrishnan Prithiviraj, BPrithiviraj@Dal.Ca

Academics (including classroom issues): Emmanuel Yiridoe, emmanuel.yiridoe@dal.ca

Facilities and non-academic staff issues: Queena Crooker-Smith, Queena.Smith@Dal.Ca

Academic and staff issues: Keltie Jones, keltie.jones@dal.ca

June 26th, 2018 4:00 p.m.

As we work through our continued response to the fire in Cox Institute we are able to provide the following update to our campus community.

Power has been restored to New Cox and significant remediation work continues with Firstonsite Restoration Services.  We are hopeful to have New Cox re-opened in early fall and will continue to keep you up-to-date as information is available.

Work also continues on reallocation of office space with Facilities Management.  As a reminder Business & Social Sciences has relocated to Humanities House and Enrollment Services is in the lower level of the Dairy Building.

The vacant International House on 179 College Road has been cleaned and we are working on sourcing furniture. Displaced Engineering faculty and staff have been allocated this space, but have not yet relocated to the building. We are still working diligently to identify office space for those in Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences.

As this work continues over the next few weeks, Dal Security will need to know who & where people are landing for emergency purposes as well as to assist others in way-finding.  As moves take place, please update Dal Security by sending an email to security@dal.ca

We are on the road to recovery but it is a process that is going to take significant time, patience and resources.  Again, we appreciate your understanding.

As a reminder, please contact the following people for specific issues or questions:

Research and grad students (including access to research supplies, space, etc.): Chris Cutler, chris.cutler@dal.ca (after June 28, contact Keltie Jones)

International students: Balakrishnan Prithiviraj, BPrithiviraj@Dal.Ca

Academics (including classroom issues): Emmanuel Yiridoe, emmanuel.yiridoe@dal.ca

Facilities and non-academic staff issues: Queena Crooker-Smith, Queena.Smith@Dal.Ca

Internal communication and academic staff issues: Keltie Jones, keltie.jones@dal.ca

June 25, 2018 10:30 a.m.

Work continued over the past weekend in an effort to restore essential services to Cox Institute.

The Fire Marshal’s examination of the scene has concluded and the site has been turned back over to the care and control of Dalhousie University.

The building (both New and Old sections of Cox building) is now on “Restricted Access – Authorized Personnel Only” for the purposes of insurance claims and investigation, air quality testing, remediation and recovery efforts.  

Special Access considerations for Old Cox will be evaluated on a case-by- case basis with requests triaged based on the ability to preserve educational materials. All special requests will be made through the Associate Dean Research, Dr. Chris Cutler with approval by Dean Gray.

Monday, June 25th 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Retrieval of essential research samples in sealed containers only

Tuesday, June 26th 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. Enrolment Services and additional research retrieval.  

Work continues on reallocation of office space with Facilities Management diligently working to secure space both on and off campus.  Enrolment services has temporarily been housed in the basement of the Dairy Building and the Department of Business & Social Services in Humanities House. 

Firstonsite Restoration Services continues with remediation work in New Cox (from Enrolment Management Offices down the west end closest to the Langille Athletic Centre)

Again, thank you for your continued patience and understanding and please watch for updates by email, dal.ca/agriculture and  through our social media channels.

June 25, 2018 9:00 a.m.

The Emergency Operations Group met over the weekend and was liaising with Firstonsite restoration services and the Fire Marshall. A broader update will be shared with the community later this morning.

June 22, 2018 4:30 p.m.

As we move into the weekend, we wanted to take this opportunity to connect with our campus community and share where we are in the process of restoring essential services to Cox Institute.

A campus gathering was held this afternoon in Jenkins Hall in partnership with the Bible Hill Fire Brigade to provide our community with an opportunity to raise questions and concerns and to connect with colleagues.

The Fire Marshall has been on-site since this morning to initiate his investigation and Firstonsite Restoration has been given access to New Cox only (from Enrolment Management Offices down the west end closest to the Langille Athletic Centre) and has started the process of remediation and inventory collection.  

The building has not been released to the university at this time and as new information becomes available over the weekend we will be updating the community through our regular channels including email, website and social media.  

Mail delivery

Marilyn Roberts in the Animal Science & Aquaculture office in Haley Institute has made arrangements with courier companies to have parcels for Cox Institute delivered to her office.  Marilyn will contact individuals as packages arrive.  Any refrigerated packages will be dealt with as required.

Other mail for Cox institute will be held in the Mail Room and can be picked up in Cumming Hall until more permanent locations can be finalized.

Fire-related expenses

If you need to purchase anything related to the fire including equipment replacements, supplies and so on please send these expenses through to the Dean’s Office.  There is a special account to charge them to and documentation requirements to enable these purchases to be covered by insurance.   

Note that it may be possible to purchase replacement supplies for items you need immediately but cannot access (even if the items are not damaged) - for example, if you need to do field work on a particular timeline and cannot wait until you are able to access the building. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact Queena (queena.smith@dal.ca or 902-893-6719) to discuss options.

Again, thank you for your continued patience and understanding

June 22, 2018 1:40 p.m

A reminder that there are HR staff from Disability Administration (for all employees) and Employee Relations (non-academic labour relations) on site at the C.A. Douglas Room if staff/faculty have any questions.

June 22, 2018 11:10 a.m

We would like to thank everyone for their patience as we navigate the complexity of accessing resources in the Cox building and re-locating staff. Given the multiple units involved in this process, we would like to ensure that all questions and issues are handled through the appropriate offices. Therefore, we ask that you direct any questions or issues you have to the following people:

Research and grad students (including access to supplies, space, etc.): Chris Cutler, chris.cutler@dal.ca
International students: Balakrishnan Prithiviraj, BPrithiviraj@Dal.Ca
Academics (including classroom issues): Emmanuel Yiridoe, emmanuel.yiridoe@dal.ca
Facilities and non-academic staff issues: Queena Crooker-Smith, Queena.Smith@Dal.Ca
Internal communication and academic staff issues: Keltie Jones, keltie.jones@dal.ca

These individuals should be your first contact on any Cox issue. We also like to remind everyone that a representative from the EFAP program will be available today in the HR offices in Cumming Hall.

Thank you for your cooperation during this challenging time.

June 22, 2018 9:55 a.m

As a reminder the campus community is invited to attend a gathering in Jenkins Hall at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 22nd to connect with colleagues and hear from Dean Gray and an official from the Bible Hill Fire Brigade with respect to the fire and ongoing work to restore services.

June 21, 2018 6:00 p.m

Work continues today on the Agricultural Campus to restore essential services to Cox Institute after the significant fire Wednesday evening.

Generator power has been provided to New Cox and the -80 degree freezers were connected at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon. The Fire panel has been activated in New Cox and the sprinkler system is charged meaning there is no requirement for a fire watch overnight. 

We anticipate fire officials to be on-site Friday morning and once the building is released, cleaning and remediation work will begin.     

Faculty and staff displaced by the fire will continue to report to MacRae library and/or work from home, depending on arrangements made with supervisors.

We continue to encourage faculty, staff and students to take care and access services available to them. 

Students are encouraged to reach out to the Student Success Centre if needed. A registered nurse will be on-site Friday , June 22nd from 9:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Monday, June 25th between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

An EFAP counsellor will be available tomorrow as well as an increased HR presence in the HR office in Cumming Hall for faculty and staff. 

The campus community is invited to attend a gathering in Jenkins Hall at1:00 p.m. Friday, June 22nd to connect with colleagues and hear from Dean Gray and an official from the Bible Hill Fire Brigade with respect to the fire and ongoing work to restore services. 

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we navigate this situation. As one young alumnus aptly said “Aggies are strong, it’s the not walls surrounding that make us who we are, it’s the people that are within.” 

June 21st, 1:20PM

Summer courses that were in Cox Institute have been moved to other locations. You can see the updated timetable by visiting:
https://dalonline.dal.ca/PROD/fysktime.P_DisplaySchedule

June 21st, 7:36AM

As you are aware, there was a fire in Cox Institute last evening and as such the building is closed today, June 21 until further notice. There will be NO ACCESS to the building as the Fire Marshall conducts his investigation.  

We will continue to keep you updated as information is forthcoming.  

Faculty and staff affected by the fire are able to report to work in the MacRae Library or make alternative arrangements with their supervisors.