AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) – Thanks to a multi-million dollar retrofit project, all residence halls at UMass Amherst now have fire sprinkler systems.
The university spent over $27 million over the last seven years to get sprinklers into some of the campuses older dormitories.
Funds for the project came from a combination of state funds and money from the University of Massachusetts Building Authority.
While state code requires UMass install sprinklers in older residence halls more than 70 feet high and in any new construction, the school voluntarily decided to equip all rooms, regardless of building height and age, with the fire suppression systems.
"Some of these facilities were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s, so this was a complicated undertaking that we principally tackled during the summer when residence halls are unoccupied. Our Facilities Planning department did an outstanding job managing the process," says Executive Director of Residential Life Eddie Hull.
Hull noted that while the sprinklers may be in place, fire safety education and enforcement "will continue to be critical" to student's safety.
With the retrofit, a total of 7,163 rooms in 45 residence halls are now protected by sprinklers.