Roof collapses on Duke East Campus

Feb. 19, 2014 @ 05:47 PM

Early Wednesday afternoon, a ceiling in a classroom in the West Duke Building collapsed.

Classroom 202, which was empty at the time, is on the second floor of the East Campus building, located on the corner of West Main Street and Broad Street. The building, which contains classroom and office space, has been evacuated until further notice and is closed.

According to preliminary reports, officials are looking into whether a drop-down acoustical ceiling collapsed, taking with it some of the original plaster ceiling.

“A structural engineer will evaluate the entire building to assess and determine if there are any other vulnerabilities,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration and Duke's emergency coordinator. “The building will be closed until we it can be determined to be safe.”

Cavanaugh said that all classes in the building will be rescheduled or relocated until the building reopens.

Just before the ceiling collapsed, an instructor and students were in the room and heard sounds around the ceiling tile. The class left the room and called the Duke facilities management department, and a mechanic responded to the scene.

"When he got here, he was at the edge of the room and started hearing a cracking noise and stepped out of the room and watched the ceiling come down," said Tom Trabert, director of facility operations.