Update #4: Fire in the main building and onsite access

We continue to learn more about the impact of the fire that took place on June 10th in the main building, and want to share with you what we’ve learned since we last updated you.  There is a lot of information to digest, at the highest level: 

  • The main building will remain closed a bit longer, with partial re-open targeted for August. 
  • The Annex building is still available for those who need to come onsite, however space is limited and we ask that you please consider this when coming onsite. 
  • We will work with you if you have onsite external meetings already planned; a detailed FAQ to support meeting planning will be forthcoming. 
  • Reopening of meeting room space in the main building for external meetings remains uncertain. Our restoration team continues to assess the full impact of the damages and restoration effort. As soon as this assessment phase is complete, we will be in a better position to provide clearer timelines, as well as offer options for external meetings. 
  • We will continue to update you as to closure status of the main building and its rooms. 

Main building will remain closed, with partial re-open targeted for August. 

Before we can reopen the building, several steps need to happen.  These include:  

  • The lightly affected areas (the third, fourth and fifth floors) require a detailed cleaning, which includes a thorough cleaning of the ventilation system.  This process takes upwards of two weeks per floor, which is then followed by surface cleaning and re-testing.  This work begins on the fifth floor and then moves down.    
  • The areas that have more impact (most of second floor and the east wing of first floor) will require extensive cleaning, as well as removal of some flooring and drywall (tied to the water damage), which will then be followed by restoration work.  

The current challenges with the supply chain (material, trades) make it difficult to give an exact timeframe; however, we hope to be able to welcome you back to the top three floors by early August. In the meantime, the Annex is still available for those who need to come onsite.  Space is limited, so we ask that you please consider this before coming onsite.  

Planning for external meetings 

Onsite meetings with Fellows traditionally occur in meeting rooms on the first and second floor, which is where the most significant repairs and restorations are required.  At this point in time, the full assessment is not complete, and we do not have a full understanding of the restoration efforts.   

Knowing this, we cannot yet give a timeline for reopening the large meeting spaces on the first and second floor.  We know that many of you are trying to plan for meetings onsite and we are looking at alternative spaces to accommodate small to mid-sized meeting rooms.  This includes exploring offsite locations for some meetings; however, cost and logistics will be a consideration.   If you have questions about your external meeting, please reach out to your EMHS Event Coordinator. 

Feedback from conservator visit   

As we shared in our last update, we are very grateful there was no significant damage to any of the irreplaceable elements within our historic building.  On June 20, we had a conservator visit the site and confirmed that the damage is minimal.  The conservator’s recommendation is to do some light surface cleaning of any exposed artwork, objects or display cases throughout the building to remove potential dust, dirt or soot particles. This work has now been completed.  To protect these important items during the restoration work, all artwork, objects, and displays will be wrapped/draped in plastic sheeting for the remainder of the clean-up and restoration work.   

How to retrieve items onsite 

If you have anything that you need to retrieve onsite, such as personal items or a file, please send an email to buildingservices@royalcollege.ca and Yvonne Moussa or Kristy Benesko will connect with you and make the necessary arrangements to retrieve your items. 

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