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Local News

January 25, 2013

SUNY Oneonta hall to re-open

Third floor to remain closed following fire

SUNY Oneonta will re-open Matteson Hall to students today, a little more than a week after a fire displaced its 175 residents.

After making repairs in the dormitory, arranging temporary housing and transportation, among other adjustments, recovery efforts are restoring a more normal life on campus and reflect a team spirit and sense of community, college officials said Thursday.

“I am overwhelmed by the campus response,’’ said Steve Perry, vice president for student development at the State University College at Oneonta. “Everyone has responded so well to this situation — they proved that it is the people who make this a special place.’’

No one was hurt in the fire that broke out in a third-floor bedroom in Matteson, at 14 East Dormitory Drive, at 4 p.m. Jan. 16, the first day of classes for the semester. Oneonta firefighters — with support from multiple area fire departments — had the blaze under control within an hour.

The cause was ruled accidental and attributed to improper use of an electrical power strip. The cost of structural damages wasn’t available, Hal Legg, director of communications at SUNY Oneonta, said Thursday.

“Last Friday, our main concern was making sure that students displaced by the fire had someplace to stay as recovery efforts began,’’ Legg said in a media release. “Now we’re preparing to welcome most of Matteson’s residents back to their suites. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, but the result — students returning to Matteson nine days after the fire — is exciting.”

Matteson was home to 174 students and a residential life director. The hall’s third floor will be closed this semester for repairs, and the 56 students who lived there were re-assigned to other dormitories within days of the fire, college officials said.

Students on the first and second floors had to wait until today to resettle on campus.

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