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By Dan Adkins

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"The business of the university continues."

--Charles T. Wethington Jr.,
University of Kentucky

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For a listing of relocated offices, click here.

For a history of the Administration Building, click here.

To read the Herald-Leader's second-day coverage, click here.

To read the Courier-Journal's second-day coverage, click here.

To read the Herald-Leader's first-day coverage, click here.

To read the Courier-Journal's first-daycoverage, click here.

To read UK Campus News' first-day story, click here.

To view old photos of the Administration Building, click here.

May 16, 2001 – (Lexington, Ky.) – University of Kentucky administrators and staff returned to their duties today in temporary offices set up in the wake of Tuesday’s fire that caused extensive damage to the Administration Building.

President Charles T. Wethington Jr., Vice President for Fiscal Affairs George DeBin, Vice President for Administration Ben Carr, Special Assistant to the President for Academic Affairs Juanita Fleming and Legal Services were relocated to the 18th floor of the Patterson Office Tower.  Other administrators were relocated to other buildings that house their units’ operations.

“The business of the university continues,” Wethington said.

Wethington said officials do not have a full assessment of damages at this point.  “We’re waiting for the university architect to perform a building assessment, and we hope we can get in late today or Thursday,” he said.

“We’re hopeful and optimistic that the building can be fully restored,” he added.

The building was damaged by a fire that started shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday when a construction worker, using a propane torch to solder metal eaves work, ignited dry rafters in the attic.  The fire spread throughout the attic and engulfed the third floor and a substantial portion of the second floor.  No serious injuries were reported.

The work being performed on the Administration Building, the oldest building standing on campus, was part of a $1.3 million restoration and renovation project that began last fall and was scheduled for completion late this month.

DeBin said university officials are working with the project’s contractor, Midland Engineering Co. of South Bend, Ind., on insurance and liability issues.  Structural questions are being addressed by the project’s architectural firm, James W. Potts-Architects of Lexington, and structural engineers.  Those engineers will complete an assessment within the next 24 to 48 hours on whether the building should be reconstructed or razed and replaced.

Preliminary assessments indicate the building can be restored.  However, any decision on the building’s future will be based on the structural engineers’ final report and whether restoration costs are excessive.

DeBin said university officials have not determined the amount of damage sustained by records kept in the building.  He noted there were about 18 inches of water, used in the effort to fight the fire, pooled in the building’s basement.

“We have contacted a document-recovery company and they should be on the site this afternoon,” he said.

Document recovery also will be assisted by restoration equipment at the William T. Young Library, he said.

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