The Noble Research Institute announced today that it would demolish one of its research buildings due to extensive smoke damage from a fire that occurred this spring.

At approximately 6 a.m. May 10, a fire began in an interior room of Building D, spreading smoke throughout the structure’s 160,000 square feet. Only a handful of Noble’s 380 employees were on campus at the time, and there were no injuries. The specific cause of the fire has not been determined but, according to Ardmore City Fire Marshal Tim Lee’s report, the fire was deemed “accidental in nature.”

“Employee safety is our number one concern when handling situations such as this,” said Bill Buckner, president and CEO. “Throughout this process, our decisions have been governed by what keeps our employees safe. The building was immediately shut down, employees were relocated, and we underwent an initial cleaning phase as well as an extensive assessment process.”

Building D housed research laboratories, core facilities, office space, and Kruse Auditorium, as well as the organization’s cafeteria and library.

After more than five months of damage assessment, it has been determined that smoke has

significantly impacted almost every aspect of the building, including scientific research spaces, interior spaces, air handling systems and infrastructure. Therefore, the Noble Research Institute’s governing body has determined that it would be more cost
effective to rebuild than repair/restore the structure.

The governing body has begun a strategic planning process to determine the needs and design of future construction as well as the on-campus site for such construction. An exact timeline for these decisions has not been set.

Before the fire, about one-third of the organization’s 380 employees were located in the building. Immediately following the fire, researchers and staff were relocated to other areas of campus. They shared laboratories, offices and cubicles in other buildings, including the organization’s workout facility.

“This challenge — like so many others we’ve faced — has once again revealed the Noble spirit,” Buckner said. “The employees pulled together to handle the immediate needs and have been there to support each other through the past several months. They truly have made the best of a difficult situation.”