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Fire damages art center at Lewis-Clark State College

LEWISTON – It could be 15 months before the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History is reopened to the public following a fire that spread smoke throughout the building, officials said.

School spokesman Bert Sahlberg said estimates of the damage aren’t available from the Thursday fire that started in the building’s kitchen. No one was injured.

An insurance adjuster and contractor examined the building Friday. A second adjuster is scheduled to survey the damage on Monday.

Fire officials said the blaze started after combustible items were placed on a stove and then the stove was inadvertently turned on.

The school said about 20 percent of the building suffered damage. Kathy Martin, dean of community programs, said the building suffered extensive damage on the first floor.

“It’s an old building, and the smoke has permeated throughout the entire building, upstairs, downstairs,” Martin told the Lewiston Tribune.

Windows that had flames shooting out on Thursday were boarded up Friday.

Several artists had work on display at the time of the fire. Also on display was Nez Perce bead work dating to 1840.

On permanent display was “Chinese at the Confluence: Lewiston’s Beauk Aie Temple.”

School workers on Friday got their first look at collections being stored in the basement. Kathy Martin, dean of community programs, said no water or fire damage was evident in the basement, but that adjusters did find smoke damage.

The Continuing Education and Community Events program that had been housed in the center’s second floor has been moved to the Sam Glenn Complex on the school’s main campus.

Work areas for employees at the center are also being moved to the complex.