WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland's historic civic center is just days away from opening to the public. Construction crews have been working on renovations at the Coleman Avenue building before Katrina struck. After the storm hit, they had to start all over again.
"It's a gorgeous grand old building," Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo said.
For Longo, a stroll around the building brings back fond memories of his childhood.
"Everybody my age and older, this is where they went to school. This was the elementary school in the city of Waveland," Longo said as he pointed to the building.
The building was built in the early 1920s and became a civic center in the early 80s. Hurricane Camille left the facility in disrepair and after the beating it took during Katrina, there was talk of demolishing it.
Longo said, "It's the only historic building that was left standing in the city of Waveland, if you can call it left standing. It was pretty gutted and beat-up. There was over 12 feet of water in this building."
It took about two years to restore the building to its original grandeur. In about three weeks, it will be ready for public use.
"The building is going to initially house the retired seniors volunteer program, give the seniors a place to gather, host other seniors to come in and give them a place," Longo said. "The auditorium is a beautiful auditorium, and it will be available to the community to host dance recitals and receptions and different things that the community needs a place for."
Mayor Longo said residents won't believe their eyes.
"The old woodwork is just gorgeous the floors, the walls, the old plaster. It will be air conditioned for the first time in its history. It's been restored to its original beauty of the 1920s," Longo said.
The three million dollar restoration project was funded by several sources, including FEMA and the State Department of Archives and History.