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
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
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
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
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