Questions still surround FAMU Jones Hall fire

Florida A&M is waiting for an official report from contractor LLT Building Corporation, for an official report of damage sustained at Jones Hall last Thursday.

“We got questions for them and we’re waiting for a written report,” said Andrew Balogh, director of FAMU’s Environmental Health and Safety Department.

Balogh’s department, along with the FAMU Police Department and the Fire Safety Department were called to the scene.

At least one university official has to be at the scene of any construction project. Every contractor is responsible for its own building.

“When a contractor takes over the building, they are responsible for the facility, for the security and everything,” Balogh said.

The university is responsible for anything “outside of the fence,” he said.

First-year chemical engineering student Michael Jefferson, who was at the scene of the fire, said he has followed the renovation of Jones Hall since it began. He anticipates the completion of the project and hopes the fire doesn’t hinder the completion of Jones Hall by its projected date to be finished.

“With all the classes having to be diverted to DRS and around the campus, this raises concern about whether the university will be able to complete the project by 2011,” the Indianapolis resident said.

Jones Hall has been allocated $12.6 million by the state under the current five-year capital improvement plan.

Paul Bajere, the project manager for Jones Hall, said he expects the report to come in on Wednesday.

Tucker Hall is also under construction. The project has been allocated $13.2 million from the state.

Ed Hill, who is responsible for the Tucker Hall project, said safety precautions are in place so a fire will not happen at the renovated arts and sciences building.

“Construction has gone smoothly,” he said.

Each project is expected to finish in January 2011.

Refer to the Campus Improvement Plan to the right for figures.