HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - William Carey University students displaced by Saturday's tornado may soon be back on campus.
"We're expecting about 150 back within the next few days," said Tommy King, William Carey University president. "We have places for them. We're told by our architect that the four new dorms will be ready to move back in within 30 days. The old dorms will take longer."
King said students are being allowed on campus to gather belongings that are salvageable, but only with a university employee. He said students can call to schedule a time to collect items or follow this schedule:
- Davis-Futral Hall: Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Byrd-Braswell Hall: Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Polk, Bryant and Bass Hall: Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Ross Hall: Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Johnson Hall: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 512 Tuscan: Access to this building is not available
In the meantime, lots of students, especially out-of-state and international students, like Jake Trevino from Houston, have had to find temporary housing. Trevino's speech and debate coach, Jennifer Talbert, could not leave him without a place to live.
"I've made promises to their families to care for them and protect them," Talbert, an assistant professor at William Carey, said. "It's just a natural inclination to try to step in and make sure everybody's safe and taken care of."
Trevino is one several students Talbert is housing.
"(I'm) staying at her house, and we've been so thankful," Trevino said. "We've got food, shelter, comfortable place to sleep, and they've just been amazing, and I couldn't be more grateful for that."
King said he is not surprised the community is stepping up to help William Carey and its students.
"Hattiesburg is the place you want to be if there's a disaster because the support of the community is just phenomenal," King said.
The University of Southern Mississippi is also supporting William Carey by housing international students.
"They designated a whole hall for us, so most of the students are there," said Chamapuwa Tinago, a William Carey student from Zimbabwe. "We're so grateful for everything that they've done. We've had an influx of donations."
Aside from housing, King said USM also offered its old nursing building to William Carey medical students for classes starting as early as Wednesday.
"It's amazing," King said.
Other than the medical school and lab science classes, King said all other course will be taken online for the rest of the winter trimester, which is about three weeks.
"We determined after Katrina that we would have the technology in place to put every class online," King said. "So that's what we'll do. Probably starting Wednesday or Thursday, we'll be able to resume classes online. We'll rely heavily on online for the rest of the year, really, but hopefully we'll be able to have space for some classes."
Despite the building damage, King said Carey is working to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
"We hope to be up and running before the week's over, " King said.