Dear Keuka College Community:
In the evening on Monday, January 1, a water pipe connected to the fire suppression system on the third floor of Allen Hall ruptured. Campus safety, facilities, the Branchport/Keuka Park Fire Department, NYSEG, and Town of Jerusalem water officials responded to the scene quickly and turned the water off.
Allen Hall has sustained heavy damage as a result of the incident and is currently uninhabitable. Ceilings collapsed, electrical systems were damaged, and equipment was destroyed. Allen Hall was home to the College's Art & Design program, American Sign Language (ASL) classroom and language laboratory, and Office of Human Resources. While brick and mortar can be replaced, so much of what was lost is irreplaceable.
My heart aches for our Art & Design students and faculty, and I want you to know that the entire College community will do everything it can to ensure this devastation does not ruin the spirit of our treasured artists. We grieve along with you for the loss of your work, and offer our help and support as you try to make sense of the situation and determine where to go from here. For our ASL students and faculty: I know that Allen Hall was an important space for you to come together as a community. I know that this loss is equally difficult for you.
The College's human resources offices were also destroyed as a result of the water, and many business and personal effects were lost. To our HR staff: please know that we are working just as diligently to find a new home for you as we are for the Art & Design and ASL programs. To the remainder of our faculty, staff, and student employees, I ask for your patience over the next few weeks as HR works to recover their work and rejuvenate their spirits.
I want all of our students to know that although many of you are not on campus right now, we are here for you. The Health and Counseling Center is just a phone call away (315-279-5368) and your Humanities and Fine Arts faculty are here for you, too.
The Keuka College community has risen above when faced with tragedy so many times in our history, and I know this time will be no different. Now more than ever, it's important to remember that no obstacle is too high to overcome and no achievement too challenging to accomplish when we pull together and Believe in What We Can Do Together.
Prof. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, Ph.D.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is anything in Allen Hall recoverable?
The College is working with a professional document restoration and recovery company on everything from business documents to student artwork. Recovery efforts are already underway, and we will know much more about what is salvageable by the middle of next week.
The Town of Jerusalem Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector has determined that although the building is structurally sound and not at risk of falling, the amount of debris in, and damage to, the building presents a health and safety risk. The health and safety of the Keuka College family is paramount, and while we recognize the painful loss that this incident represents to many members of the Keuka College community, we can only allow certified professionals to enter the building.
Will insurance cover artwork and personal materials that may have been in studios, classrooms, and offices?
We have been working as quickly as possible to clarify this with our insurance company. As soon as we have an answer, we will provide additional information to those who studied and worked in Allen Hall.
Have any decisions been made with regard to where those who previously occupied Allen Hall will go?
Yes. As previously shared, the College has spent a significant amount of time over the past two years fundraising and designing a new Center for Art & Design in Hegeman Hall. The Center will occupy the lake side of the fourth floor currently used by the Office of the President and the Office of Academic Affairs.
Artist's rendering of the new Hegeman Hall Center for Art & Design
While we were planning to move Art & Design to Hegeman Hall beginning in the Fall of 2018, our timeline has been accelerated and the Art & Design program will occupy this space in temporary facilities beginning in February. Construction will begin to convert this space to align with the College's vision for the Center in May after classes have concluded.
The Office of Human Resources will move, at least temporarily, to Keuka Commons within the next few weeks. There are still a few details to refine, and information about HR's relocation will be shared as soon as possible.
The Office of Academic Affairs is working on identifying a solution for the ASL language laboratory.
Will the Art & Design, ASL, and ASL-English Interpreting programs be operational when students return in February?
Yes. Although this incident has damaged physical space and many of our spirits, the integrity of our academic programs and the high-quality education we provide to our students will not change.