La Crosse, WI (WXOW)-- Five months after a devastating fire Drake Hall on the UW-L campus is making progress.
The cleanup and renovation should be complete in time for students to move in for the fall semester
The January fire displaced about 270 students. But now, Drake is almost completely repaired. The last step is to move in furniture.
"The fire alarm systems new, the exit lights are new," said Nick Nicklaus, director or residence life. "Everything you see down here is new."
But some of the most costly repairs, are things you can't see.
"The wiring that runs through the entire building was melted together," Nicklaus said.
Sara Teinhaara is the hall director for Drake and was in the building the night of the fire.
"When I opened the door there was already an officer here and there was smoke pouring in," Teinhaara said. "At that point I knew it wasn't a student pulling the alarm. This is real and this is serious."
Now, she's the first to move back in.
"It's weird, it's lonely, but it's home to me," she said.
Sara says there are some things lost in the fire, that can't be replaced.
"There was a mural specifically painted right here in the lobby, by a student I really care about along with other students, that they had just painted a year ago."
But the building will have one decoration when it opens in the fall.
"They got a huge bed sheet and every body put their hand in print, in a different color, and then it says 'Drake Hall 2011-2012,'" Teinhaara said.
Many of students who moved out of Drake in January have applied to live in the remodeled hall in the fall.
The fire started on a couch in the basement and was intentionally set, although officials haven't made any arrests.
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