- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A century-old building damaged by fire at Loras College will be demolished because it would be too expensive to maintain the structure’s historic value and improve access to students and visitors with disabilities, school officials said.

A March 16 fire severely damaged the 126-year-old building that was part of Dubuque’s Loras College Visitation Complex, according to the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/2gzcImi ). The building was used for classes and student housing, and the fire left dozens of student residents displaced.

Officials intended to rebuild, but Loras President Jim Collins said Monday that “fiscally, it would have been irresponsible to move forward.”

Collins wouldn’t say how much it would cost to fix the building. Officials are still determining a timeline and how much it will cost to demolish the structure.

“As an administrator, I’m pleased that we at least have a solution and an outcome,” Collins said. “Personally, I’m a little bit sad because it would have been nice to have rebuilt. But what’s more important is that our students and staff were physically unharmed after the fire.”

Officials believe the fire was caused by a lightning strike early in the morning. According to a press release issued by the college, the building remains “completely operational.”

Collins said officials plan to use some of the brick from the building and incorporate it into the main campus to keep the structure’s history preserved.

School regents will also be working with administrators to find the best way to use money from the insurance settlement to enhance educational opportunities.

Assistant vice president for physical resources John McDermott said demolition could happen within the next month.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com


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