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UNR Negotiating with Circus Circus to House Students Assigned to Damaged Dorms (Subscriber Content)

By Carla O'Day
Image: Ty O’Neil.

The University of Nevada, Reno is working with a downtown hotel to secure beds for approximately 1,300 students who were initially going to live in two dormitories this fall before an explosion damaged them earlier this month.

Argenta and Nye halls will be uninhabitable this year. Eldorado Resorts is planning to accommodate students in its non-gaming Sky Tower at Circus Circus Reno. The newly-renovated tower would be exclusively for student housing and rebranded Wolf Pack Tower. Shuttle service between downtown and campus would also be provided, according to UNR.

“Our plan is to seamlessly integrate Wolf Pack Tower into the university’s housing experience,” university president Marc Johnson told UNR publication Nevada Today. “We are extremely fortunate to have a nearby property manager who understands what the needs of our program are and who has agreed to work with us on transitioning their property into a space university students will thrive in.”

How It Blew Up

On July 5, a 3-inch gas line feeder in Argenta Hall was severed. There was active fire from the line, causing the sprinkler system and alarm to trigger. A second explosion took place at about 1 p.m. Fire from the initial explosion was extinguished by the building’s suppression system.

Natural gas then filled the basement area where the two boilers are located and traveled to the upper portions of Argenta Hall, according to the Nevada Fire Marshal. The main gas line was shut off from the exterior of the building. It was the second explosion that caused significant damage to both dorms and eight people suffered minor injuries.

According to UNR, students at Sky Tower will have a separate entrance from those of hotel/casino patrons staying in other towers. The building will be staffed by UNR employees and have 24-hour security. University Police Services also plans to set up a substation.

Students who have concerns or need information about housing, food, and parking on campus are asked to call 775-784-1113 or 775-682-8241 or email [email protected]

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