USM Gulf Coast set to finally repair buildings

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - By David Elliott – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - In spite of budget cuts and recent lay offs, USM is committed to repair Katrina damaged buildings on the Gulf Coast Campus.

"It's disturbing to see these wonderful, grand buildings still empty and washed out five years later," said Dr. Frances Lucas as she walks through gutted Hardy Hall.

Dr. Lucas became Campus Executive officer eight weeks ago and said repairing the buildings is at the top of her priority list.

"I want to restore this campus and get these buildings up and operating," Lucas said.

If you peek through broken glass at Lloyd hall today, it looks just as it did the day after Katrina. Lloyd Hall, Elizabeth Hall, Hardy Hall and the administration building were ravaged by the storm's wind and water.

The old administration building will be demolished and Hardy Hall will become the new administrative center. A combination of FEMA funds and insurance proceeds will finance the nearly $14 million project.

Right now the project is in the design phase. University officials hope to award construction bids between December and May.

"In two years when you visit our campus, you'll be stunned by the beauty, from the center to the edges of the campus," Dr. Lucas said.

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