It was a special year for UNO in 2014 with countless events, achievements, special guest visits and national recognitions for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
After a fire that displaced 48 students in February, the Scott Village dorm reopened in August after a $2.3 million reconstruction, creating a new third floor and partial section of the second floor, with additional sprinkler heads, fire-resistant composite decking and more efficient water heaters and air conditioning.
"UNO reopens Scott Village residence hall claimed by February fire"
This story, written by Kevin Cole, originally appeared on Omaha.com on August 17, 2014
A dormitory destroyed by fire in February reopened Sunday safer and better than before, University of Nebraska at Omaha officials said.
Building G in Scott Village on the UNO Pacific Street Campus was destroyed Feb. 26 when a cigarette discarded on a second-floor balcony ignited a two-alarm fire. Jonathan Orlich, general manager of the Scott Campus residences, said the building underwent a $2.3 million reconstruction.
“Inspections and engineers determined the foundation and brick of the building were as sound as the day it was (first) done,” Orlich said. “We rebuilt the entire third floor and parts of the second floor.”
Improvements made throughout the building included adding additional sprinkler heads and fire-resistant composite decking on the apartment balconies. More efficient water heaters, plumbing and air conditioning also were added.
“It’s actually, basically, back or better than the state it was in before the fire,” said John Amend, UNO director of facilities. “Using the original builder (Kiewit) helped us make a quick turnaround.”
Freshman Zach Taylor was among the 48 students moving into Building G on Sunday. Each apartment has four occupants, who have their own bedrooms.
Taylor said he didn’t realize his assigned residence had been destroyed by fire until he arrived. The architectural engineering major appeared unfazed by the revelation.
“It’s just like any other dorm room,” he said.
His parents, Carol and Frank Taylor of Omaha, were impressed by the building’s improvements.
“I remember seeing the smoke,” Carol said. “But I didn’t realize (Zach) was in the exact same building. Then we were glad we got renter’s insurance.”
No one living in the dorm at the time of the fire is returning this year, because the residents were seniors or international students.
All UNO dorms are full — with a total of 2,100 students — and there is a waiting list, officials said.
Smoking is prohibited inside the dorms and on the balconies and patios. Smoking is permitted 10 feet away from each building.
Orlich said no more importance was placed this year on reminding students about the dangers of careless disposal of smoking products than in any other year.
“It’s another life safety issue,” he said. “We’re going to focus on all of those issues.”