SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – American International College is assuring students that their studies won’t be disrupted this fall after a fire likely destroyed the school’s life sciences building Thursday. Springfield city and fire officials surveying the damage Friday, pledging to help.
“AIC is here. that we will remain here and we are already in the planning phase on how we move forward with our fall term,” said AIC President Hubert Benitez.
A fire destroyed Courniotes Hall on the campus of AIC Thursday evening. Fire officials say they are still investigating the cause of the fire. At this time, a lightning strike has not been fully confirmed or ruled out, adding the fire started under the roof and lead to a roof collapse. According to Benitez, the building appears to be a complete loss, the fire destroyed the roof and second floor and water destroyed the first floor.
Springfield City and fire officials joined President Benitez in surveying the damage on campus Friday. President Benitez says concerned students do not need to worry, their learning experience will not be disrupted and a plan to accommodate learning is in the works.
City officials offering AIC use of the adjacent Homer Street school. Students who attended the Homer Street school are now going to the DeBerry Swan School this fall.
Mayor Sarno added that city staff are doing a walk through of the adjacent Homer Street school to see what infrastructure is needed.
“I am going to try and assist whatever I can do on the city side. I know on the federal side, Congressman Neal… AIC is near and dear to his heart, he’s reached out… Governor Maura Healey has also reached out,” said Sarno.
Courniotes Hall is a life sciences building and housed a lot of expensive equipment.
“Extremely expensive. Unfortunately the expense that this carries is a very high number for us. We are working on quantifying what that number looks like,” said Benitez, added he was appreciative of the outpouring of support he has received from the community.
The president of AIC also thanked Springfield Fire, who he says did a great job of handling the fire in such difficult conditions.