DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College has announced it will raze the north building of its Visitation Complex. The structure was significantly damaged by a fire caused by lightning in March of this year. The fully-restored south building remains completely operational.
Loras President Jim Collins and the Loras College Board of Regents have yet to determine a definitive timeline for the razing the north side of the complex located at 900 Alta Vista St. That portion of the complex sustained heavy damage, particularly the roofline, when lightning struck it at approximately 1 a.m. on March 16. All students and staff inside the building at the time were accounted for and evacuated safely. Displaced students were then provided housing elsewhere on campus.
Since then, college officials have worked with insurance carriers to determine what funds might be available to rebuild the 126-year-old Visitation property.
“In the end, the money available through our policy is much less than what we believe will be the actual cost to rebuild the structure in the way it deserves,” Collins said.
In lieu of rebuilding the north building, Collins said the Board of Regents will review options to invest settlement funds into strategic priorities which contribute to the continued overall quality experience for students.
Immediately after the fire, the Loras and Dubuque communities immediately sprang into action. Donations of clothing, bedding, gift cards, food and sundries were gathered that morning and donations poured in throughout the following weeks and months.
“I continue to be grateful that all residents and staff were unharmed physically,” Collins said. “Further, I am proud of all the ways the larger community came together to support those most directly affected.”
Loras custodial staff, residential staff and student residential assistants were quick to lead the evacuation effort during the fire. In addition, neighbors helped to call emergency services and aid displaced students.
In June, Loras, Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines and Iowa Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle offered their thanks and special recognition to four employees of Radio Dubuque who helped evacuate students during the fire.
Josh Crowell, Mike Callaghan, Tim Lary and Lisa Bennett received letters of commendation, a plaque of appreciation to the entire group of heroes and free passes to Loras sporting and campus events for one year. Also, Crowell, who was first to enter the building at the time of the fire, received a college admission remission package to earn a degree at Loras.
About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras is ranked 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings and the 11th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges. Visit www.loras.edu to learn more.
Thomas Jensen, Public Relations and Social Media Manager
Office: 563.588.7179 | Cell: 919.930.1997