HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - "If you think the outside's beautiful, wait until you see the inside. Because to me, it's superb," said a smiling Jerry Bracey. "We're very proud of this."
Bracey is the dean of the William Carey University campus in Gulfport. He is eagerly counting down to August 10th, when his staff can start moving into the university's Tradition campus off Highway 67 in Harrison County. The new school is built on 30 acres of property.
"I was awestruck," said Bracey. "It was unbelievable when I came through the doors and just walked around. I said the good Lord had to have His hand in this, because they did such a beautiful job on it."
The gleaming staircase stretches from the front entrance to the second floor of the Administration Building. Upstairs, you'll find a book store, nursing station, and a Science Lab that's twice the size of the one at the Gulfport campus. Faculty offices, a board room, and lounge occupy the third floor.
"There will be a refrigerator, microwave, so this is something they didn't have before," said Bracey.
The 58,000 square foot facility also features unique touches like arch windows, working clock tower, and lights can be lowered electronically to make it easier to change the bulbs.
Over in the academic building, classrooms are located on the first and third floors.
"This will close up and we can make two small classrooms, or we can open it up and have one large classroom," Bracey said as he pulled the partition from the wall.
And students will have something they didn't have before -- private study rooms in the library and curriculum labs for Education majors.
"We had library in Gulfport, which of course was destroyed by the storm," said Bracey. "But this will give us an opportunity to expand our library resources and we're excited about that."
The entire campus is also wireless and every classroom will come equipped with Promethean Boards.
"Although we wished it had happened sooner, we all agree it's worth waiting on. It's very, very nice," Bracey said.
Security will also be tighter. All students, faculty and staff must use an ID card to get on campus. Visitors must check-in at the security station.
The first day of class is August 24th. About 700 students have registered for fall classes. However, the campus can accomodate 750 students.