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1 year after fire, John A. Logan College is moving forward

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - John A. Logan College is moving forward a year after an electrical fire nearly stopped the fall semester before it even began.

“There’s more room and there’s more opportunity to serve students,” said Steve O’Keefe, Director of Public Relations.

The fire started in a mechanical room around noon on August 12, 2020. A year later it is renovated and open to the public... And has new additions like a gaming area for students and visitors.

“Their offices all have a new fresh look with new carpet, new tiles, new paint, so you feel good about the area you’re in,” said O’Keefe.

It caused smoke damage throughout the majority of the Carterville campus.

“We quickly had to move all operations online for a couple days at that time fortunately with COVID at the time most of our stuff was online,” said O’Keefe.

Faculty and staff moved everything online while staff relocated. The college was operational and open to the public a few days later.

“Sadly, after the COVID shutdown, we had experience converting to remote operations,” said Provost Dr. Melanie Pecord. “But despite our previous experience, the effort by our faculty and staff to continue moving forward uninterrupted with the fall was unbelievable. We continued with registration, and classes never missed a beat.”

Staff continued to work remotely and from temporary office locations throughout the 2020-21 school year while areas of campus were under renovation. By June, they started to move back to refurbished office areas.

Angel Najar, a student at the college started online classes with the college last year, this is his first time in the building. He said he would have never guessed the destruction it went through.

“I came and I was really surprised. It looks great. It gives students the space to interact and hang out,” said Najar.

O’Keefe said despite the setback the college experienced, he’s glad to see things new and improved.

“I think everyone is glad to be back and comfortable in their offices,” said O’Keefe.

O’Keefe said the College is in the early planning stages to expand their campus’s West Entrance.

By June, John A. Logan College staff started to move back to refurbished office areas.
By June, John A. Logan College staff started to move back to refurbished office areas.(John A. Logan College)

“We are so proud of our space and excited to be able to serve students better than we ever have,” said Assistant Provost for Student Affairs, Dr. Tim Williams. “Not only do we have fresh paint, carpet, and ceiling tiles, but we also have made renovations that help serve students from recruitment to graduation.”

By June, John A. Logan College staff started to move back to refurbished office areas.
By June, John A. Logan College staff started to move back to refurbished office areas.(John A. Logan College)

College officials recently announced plans for additional renovations to the campus.

It’s in the early planning stages with the Illinois Capital Development Board to expand the West Entrance.

“The renovations that we have planned for the West Entrance to the campus will allow us to meet the needs of our students with an expanded student services area and provide meeting space and opportunities to our local communities,” said President Dr. Kirk Overstreet.

Fall semester classes began on August 11, nearly a year to the day of the fire.

On Aug. 20, the college began requiring all visitors, students, faculty and staff to wear masks.

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