Classes Resume at PSC Feb. 6 [02/06/2017]

Prairie State College (PSC) reopened on Monday, Feb. 6, after being closed for eight days after a transformer fire in the main campus basement.

The fire was discovered Saturday morning at around 9:40 a.m, after a fire alarm sounded, and the building was evacuated. The PSC Police Department and Chicago Heights Fire Department discovered the origin from a failed transformer located in the basement. The fire department was able to quickly extinguish the fire, but power to a large portion of the building was lost.

“We are extremely thankful for the swift work of the Chicago Heights Fire Department, for responding so quickly, and the PSC Police Department for quickly evacuating the building and getting the people on campus to safety,” said PSC President Dr. Terri L. Winfree.

The PSC Facilities Department got to work quickly to locate a generator and replacement transformer. At the time of this release, a generator is providing power to the southeast portion of the main building while the transformer is located.

“The staff from facilities and IT have been working extra hard to get the campus back to full power and ready to accommodate a full schedule of classes and all campus activities this week,” Winfree said.

PSC administrators made the swift decision to close several campus buildings because many of the college departments that perform essential functions were without power. Furthermore, a property restoration specialist was retained to clean up the smoke and residue left from the extinguishing agent, and the main building had to remain closed until a certified industrial hygienist notified the college that the cleanup was successful. 

“This really was the true embodiment of the word ‘teamwork’ on campus,” Winfree said. “Members of the faculty, staff and administration gathered daily in the in the college’s Conference Center to ensure that all important cleanup functions were coordinated, and college operation status was regularly updated to employees, students and the community.” 

The faculty has also been regularly communicating with administration and students, and are developing a plan to make up the class time and assignments that were missed during the days that the college was closed.

“While this certainly was not an ideal situation for the campus to be put in, I am very proud of our campus community for coming together to minimize the lasting effects on our students,” Winfree added. “The college and its employees clearly showed that we are dedicated to the college’s mission, no matter the circumstances.”