UPDATE 12:00 AM Saturday - UNC-Asheville reached an agreement with the state department of insurance late Friday evening to re-open The Woods complex. In a statement the DOI said it was satisfied that the school was addressing its concerns and supported students moving into the buildings.
EARLIER STORY - Five new residence halls on the campus of UNC-Asheville are closed to students Friday by order of the state of department of insurance.
The Woods complex on campus will house more than 270 upperclassmen at the school, and classes for the fall semester start Monday. In a release sent out late Thursday afternoon, state insurance commissioner Mike Causey cited construction issues that ‘would not allow for safe evacuations in the event of a fire.’ 59 students had already moved into the dorms and have since been relocated to hotels while the issue is fixed. Another 60 - all students who transferred to the school for this semester - were slated to move in today, with the rest expected to do so over the weekend. The school will store their belongings until the complex is re-opened. If that does not occur by Friday evening, those students will also be housed at hotels for the time being. Friday is also freshman move-in day at UNC-Asheville but that's not being affected by the closure, since The Woods is housing solely for upper classmen.
The school and the insurance department are discussing ways to mitigate the matter, and hope to have a solution later Friday. In a statement released late Thursday, UNC-Asheville chancellor Nancy Cable said -
"The safety of our students is our top priority. The issues raised by the North Carolina Department of Insurance have already been addressed and accepted by the Office of State Construction. The Office of State Construction, which we believe has authority in this matter, has assured UNC Asheville that the buildings are safe and that office granted occupancy on August 15. While initial Department of Insurance inspections did reveal some concerns, those issues have been addressed by a third-party engineering firm, the architect of record, and accepted and approved by the State Construction Office.
Our new residence halls are safe or we would not have allowed our students to begin to move in. In an abundance of caution due to this unexpected development, we are relocating our students until this situation is resolved. We believe these buildings are safe as was confirmed by the Office of State Construction. We are moving with deliberate speed to ensure minimal disruption to our students and the start of our academic year."