HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The President of William Carey University is focused on new construction nearly ten months after the deadly EF-3 tornado hit campus earlier this year.
"We're in all of the buildings that could be restored, so now we only lack the construction of new buildings to replace those that were totally destroyed," said Dr. Tommy King at the university's 125th Anniversary Convocation Monday morning.
The ceremony is usually held in August to start the new school year, but the university had to postpone it due to damage and ongoing repairs at the auditorium in the Thomas Fine Arts Building. January's tornado put a holr in the roof of the auditorium, which ruined the stage and surrounding area.
"It's great," King said. "I heard students, many of them as they were walking over say, 'well, we are back in the auditorium."
Dr. King said the auditorium is also where weekly chapel services are held, which have been suspended since the tornado. He said those will also begin this week with the winter trimester.
Monday also marked the first day of classes in the university's restored School of Business. Cheryl Dale, Dean of the School, said classes have been held at other buildings around campus since the storm.
"Every trimester, it seems that we've moved to a different location for classes," Dale said. "I think this will be important, for students to have a landing place. They know that classes will be offered here this trimester, spring trimester and now on."
Dr. King said construction is underway for a new Tatum Court, two new dormitories and a new academic center. He hopes that construction will be complete by summer of 2018.
Dr. King also noted construction is also underway at the Tradition Campus for a new School of Pharmacy and another academic building.
"We're just thrilled beyond description at the fact that our students have not forsaken us, our employees and faculty have been loyal and the future is bright at William Carey," King said.