Recycled Material Goes From Hurricane Piles To Construction Sites

There's a property in Biloxi that still has hurricane debris piles sitting on it. Some of that debris may end up in the frame of a nearby home.

The debris sits on the site where the Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art was about 50 percent complete before Katrina tore it apart. However, several pieces of that complex are being recycled in an east Biloxi rebuilding project.

While Ross Wienert was taking measurements to rebuild a Rosetti Street home, he looked to the south, and an idea popped into his head.

"We saw a lot of potential in the materials that were out there," he thought.

A block away from the home Wienert's group designed was the Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art construction site. And on the ground were materials that could be salvaged and then blended into the home recovery project he was assigned.

"It will be a part of our building. And we'll keep it out of the landfill and try to integrate it into our design," the future architect from the University of Texas student said.

In January, WLOX News first watched a collection architects and the EPA save usable cinder blocks, lumber, windows and doors from a hurricane damaged home in Ocean Springs, so they could be recycled in future rebuilding designs. This is step two of that process.

Students from across the country came to Biloxi to plot how salvaged building materials could wind up in new homes rather than landfills. Kristin Hawk attends North Carolina State University.

"We're starting to learn more about reusing materials that is definitely a new process that I haven't done in school," she said.

Mississippi State set up this summer studio for architects at the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center. The hands on program benefits Biloxi's recovery efforts. And it teaches future architects some valuable lessons about recycling.

"Also to help out and to have the architecture not just be this expensive, high design, but something that's available to everybody," Hawk said.

The student architects dodged raindrops Monday while working on the Rosetti Street home in Biloxi.  They're also working on a home in the Pearlington community. Parts of that structure are being built with remnants of an Ocean Springs house that was carefully dismantled last winter.