HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - The recovery process is in full swing at William Carey University after January's devastating tornado.
It's been a little more than two months since the twister ripped through this campus, and life has returned to as normal as it can be amid the debris and construction fences that remain.
"There was so much destruction, so many problems, and yet immediately I was able to see a strength in our students and a strength in our faculty and staff," said Dr. Scott Hummel, Executive Vice-President and Provost.
Dr. Hummel said the spirit on campus is up, enrollment is up, and students and faculty are looking to the future. It's a sense of resilience that drives them forward.
"There is no place in America that is able to bounce back consistently better and stronger each time," he said.
He believes the university's Christian roots are what keep the school grounded and surging back. The students on campus also credit the community's support.
"It's been a blessing to have so many people donate and help out," said senior, Daniel Speed.
But, it's still hard for them to see such changes on their campus. The oldest building, Tatum Court, has been an icon at William Carey for more than a century. The damage it sustained was too much, so demolition crews had to take it down.
"It's really strange seeing the buildings that I had class in torn down," said freshman Briana Bradley, while walking by the demolition site.
Ruth Saidman was also walking by the fence when parts of the building were being torn down.
"Oh my God, I just saw my history class get demolished," she said.
But, Tatum Court will be rebuilt, and students like Ruth Saidman and her daughter Sarah, see this change as the beginning of something new at the university.
"It is kind of like shaking up, but we're going to come out of this strong," said Saidman.
According to Dr. Hummel, the new Tatum Court is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2018.