USM to mark 'full recovery' from Hurricane Katrina

The Friendship Oak before and after Hurricane Katrina.
The Friendship Oak before and after Hurricane Katrina.

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - USM students go back to campus later this month, just days before the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The university says that will mark a full recovery for the Long Beach campus.

Dr. Frances Lucas says years of work have restored the original beauty of the beachfront campus.

"We are delighted to announce that we have fully returned to the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus following the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina," said Lucas, Southern Miss Gulf Coast vice president and campus executive officer. "Our Gulf Park campus is an inviting intellectual hub for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and we welcome all coastal neighbors to come visit with us."

The cost of the project was $26 million and included major renovations to existing buildings and new construction. The historic restoration projects for Hardy Hall and Lloyd Hall were completed in spring 2013.

The $10 million project for Hardy Hall included renovations, as well as new construction for the Barnes and Noble Bookstore and an adjacent parking lot. The three-story building also houses dining services, the College of Education and Psychology, and administrative offices including Admissions and Student Services.

Lloyd Hall is a $2.4 million project that provides ten classrooms for students. The newly constructed $10 million Science Building features nine teaching laboratories, research space, approximately 20 faculty and administrative offices and an 80-seat instructional classroom.

Check out USM's "Before and After" gallery showing the beauty of the campus and the devastating effects Hurricane Katrina had on the historic buildings and grounds:

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