UNR Fall Housing Assignments Delayed After Dorms Damaged by Explosion

Sierra Street traffic was diverted after an explosion damaged two UNR dorms. Image: Deb Conrad.
Sierra Street traffic was diverted after an explosion damaged two UNR dorms. Image: Deb Conrad.

The University of Nevada, Reno has delayed fall housing assignments for students after an explosion Friday damaged two dormitories. Argenta Hall will not be used this fall. Nye Hall is being evaluated, according to the university.

Argenta houses up to 750 students and opened in 2000, with its second phase opening in 2004. Nye opened in 1967 and houses up to 555 residents.

About 3,100 students live on campus, according to UNR.

“We are looking at options to see if Nye Hall could perhaps be used this fall, but it is too early without a complete structural report to make any definite determination,” a statement from UNR said. “Our planning discussions have focused on working with our partners on campus and in the community to identify solutions for housing and feeding students in the fall.”

New students taking part in overnight orientation sessions this month will stay in residence halls that were not affected by the explosion.

The 1 p.m. July 5 explosion is believed to have been caused by a mechanical failure, although UNR is awaiting final reports from the state fire marshal. Although there was no reported fire, the buildings were evacuated and eight people were treated for minor injuries.

Residential Life staff set up a command center and began calling students to make sure they were safe and accounted for. UNR also released public messages about the incident and requested calls or emails from residents to be sure they were accounted for. Housing staff and student employees also were able to open Peavine Hall for displaced students. 

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Classes have resumed, and UNR maintains that other dorms aren’t at risk.

“We have no reason to believe that the other residence halls are unsafe,” the UNR statement said. “Our residence halls are well-maintained year-round with inspections conducted on regular schedules. We are confident this was an isolated incident.”

Reunifying students with their personal belongings from their rooms in Argenta Hall has been ongoing, although slow. University Police Services and the Reno Fire Department have been able to retrieve some critical items, such as medications, passports, and laptops.

Structural engineers have been on site to determine the building’s safety.

“We appreciate their understanding regarding the safety considerations we face in sending people into a severely damaged building in order to retrieve personal items,” UNR’s statement continued. “Since the incident occurred on Friday, we have prominently circulated the following numbers for students, parents and anyone else who might have concerns or need information about housing, food and parking on campus.”

Those with questions regarding the situation are asked to call 775-784-1113 or 775-682-8241 or email [email protected] UNR Counseling Services can be reached at 775-784-4648, as can the Crisis Call Hotline at 775-784-8090.

CORRECTION: Argenta Hall houses up to 750 students, accoring to UNR.

Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 497 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.