January 14 email message from Dean Kliger
January 16, 2002

A message to the Natural Sciences community:

I want to update you on the status of Sinsheimer Labs following last Fridayís fire. We have moved rapidly from emergency management mode on Friday to preservation of research on Saturday and to relocation of building occupants on Sunday. We are now faced with continuing our teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities (housed in temporary quarters) while handling the logistics of recovering our losses. This was a major disaster and it will take a long time for us to fully resume normal operations.

First and foremost, my sincere thanks to all of you who have so generously helped faculty, researchers, and staff to access their labs and offices, begin to estimate their losses, and make temporary work and research arrangements. Since the building housed approximately 55 faculty offices, more than 30,000 square feet of research space, and space for administrative staff, graduate students, and postdocs, this disruption to our work and scholarly lives is extensive and significant. Many of our colleagues in adjacent buildings have graciously shared their space for storage of research samples, equipment, and other materials. Some have been able to make temporary workspace available as well. Your kindness has been heartwarming and frankly necessary.

Though the fire was contained primarily to two labs on the fourth floor in the south wing, the entire building experienced some degree of water and smoke damage, with some areas sustaining widespread water damage. The building will be closed for about three more weeks, at which time the north wing should reopen. The lower floors of the south wing will reopen in approximately four to six weeks. The top floors of the south wing will take several months to restore.

Response to the fire has been top priority for all areas of the divisional administration. Nearly all other projects and ongoing work have taken a back seat to saving research materials, helping the building occupants find temporary quarters, and managing the process of handling water damaged documents and books and damaged electronics, equipment, and instruments, etc. As a consequence, some response times are slipping, some meetings are being delayed, and some projects are being pushed back. Your understanding will be appreciated.

We have received expert guidance and assistance from several outside companies as well as from our own campus personnel, most notably the Environmental Health and Safety staff and personnel from Physical Plant. These skilled response teams have helped us begin to bring order to the chaos created by the fire. Under the dedicated direction of Vice Chancellor Vani, the units of Business and Administrative Services have supported and guided us in so many essential ways throughout last weekend, and we continue to rely on their expertise.

A web site has been established to provide building status and access reports, insurance claims information, etc.:
http://orator.ucsc.edu. In addition, building status reports continue to be posted on x9-4440.

Again, I am grateful to all of you who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Division of Natural Sciences.


David S. Kliger, Dean
Division of Natural Sciences