LCOOCC recovers from devastating fire

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-2: The Future of the Tribal College Movement, Tribal College News
By President Ray Burns

NO EXIT. A June fire at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College seriously damaged the tribal college’s 700 Wing. Photo by President Ray Burns

On June 1, a devastating fire struck the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College (LCOOCC, Hayward, WI). Thanks to constant practice of fire drills, everyone was quickly evacuated, and, thankfully, no one was injured. Confined to the college’s 700 Wing, home to the Extension Department, the fire was quickly contained, but not before smoke and water seriously damaged the 600 Wing (which contains faculty offices) and caused lesser damage to the 500 Wing (containing a combination of faculty offices and classrooms).

Approximately 40% of the college was damaged to some degree by the fire. Fortunately, during the summer months, LCOOCC is on hiatus, so the loss of space did not have as negative an impact as it might have had during the school year. The tribal college also had time to adapt to the new situation. If there is one thing that tribal colleges have proven over the years, it’s that given the time to adapt, they come out strong.

LCOOCC is no exception and the tribal college is using the fire as an opportunity to rebuild from the ground up, to replace what was lost with a more cost-efficient space. While the timeline for reconstruction has yet to be established, LCOOCC is hoping to be back up to full capacity in short order. In the meantime, the tribal college, through innovative use of existing space and the dedication of its employees, will open for Fall Semester with a full and complete schedule of classes.

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