UPDATE @ 9:05 p.m.: The botanical garden welcome center at Central State University, scheduled to open Monday, now will have to be rebuilt because of the fire there tonight that caused heavy damage, a university official said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, a Xenia Twp. fire captain said.
The university official, who asked not to identified by name, said the welcome center was under construction and a work crew had been on site Monday.
Neither official could put a dollar amount on the damage, but the university official said the building is a total loss and Central State intends to rebuild it.
A Xenia Twp. firefighter did suffer a hand injury and was taken to a hospital.
CSU broke ground in November 2017 on the facility, a botanical and community garden on campus that was projected to cost an estimated $700,000, which an accompanying aquaponics facility was estimated to cost $125,000, university officials said.
Both are being paid for by the federal agriculture department.
The decision to create the garden was made as part of Central State’s focus on being an 1890 land-grant institution, CSU President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond told the Dayton Daily News in November 2017.
Being a land grant school, Central State is expected to focus its attention on the needs of the community and state, including agriculture.
Central State was designated a land grant institution in 2014 and as such has partnerships with other land grant colleges, including Ohio State University, Jackson-Hammond said.
A botanical gardens building, off U.S. 42 at Wilberforce Switch Road across from Central State University, reported is fully engulfed in flames.
Crews have been dispatched to the location, on U.S. 42 and Wilberforce Switch Road, where the structure is said to be collapsing. The fire was reported just before 8 p.m.
We have a crew on the way and we will update this developing report as we learn more.