The State Board of Regents has given the University of Northern Iowa the okay to spend more than two million dollars to repair fire damage to one of its main buildings. A fire on homecoming weekend in October forced the relocation of the campus administrative offices, student services and the department of public safety.
U-N-I vice president Tom Schellhardt says the money’s needed because the work needed on Gillchrist Hall is more than originally thought because of the presence of asbestos in the building. He says they thought if they didn’t have to remove the asbestos they could be back in three to four months. But Schellhardt says there’s a rigid procedure that has to be followed to remove the asbestos, which takes more time. Schellhardt says they needed the approval from the regents to move ahead.
He says their insurance plan requires a two-million dollar deductible and anything over 500-thousand requires approval by the state legislature. Schellhardt says it could be over one year before they can move back into the building. Gilchrist is one of three buildings damaged by fire on October 16th. Police say the fires were intentionally set, but there have been no arrests.