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Alabama university grappling with housing after twister

August 5, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama university that’s grappling with a housing shortage after a tornado is purchasing mobile homes to provide living space for students this fall.

WBMA-TV reported that Jacksonville State University plans to use 22 mobile homes to house students as classes resume for the new academic year.

Houses and apartments were destroyed and heavily damaged when a tornado struck on March 19, helping create a housing crunch in the city of 12,600 people located about 80 miles (129 kilometers) east of Birmingham.

The two-bedroom, two-bath mobile units will each house two students. A waiting list for housing includes 150 people, and the mobile homes will be assigned on a first-come basis.

The decision to use mobile homes appeared to be one of the school’s final solutions to the housing problems caused by the tornado, which heavily damaged about two dozen buildings on campus and affected 50 more.

“Unfortunately there’s a stigma to it. Whether it’s fair or not is a totally other issue. It’s one of those things when you realize that when you have no other options that it’s the thing to do,” said Jacksonville State President John Beehler.

Each mobile home will have new appliances, plus hookups for washers and dryers if residents want to bring their own to campus, the school said in a release.

“Frankly these are so nice I think the students will actually enjoy living in them,” said Beehler.

The university also is using other new space to house students.

A recently closed hospital is being used as housing and classroom space for some nursing students, and a former athletic dormitory that had been used for offices and classrooms is being converted back into residential space.

The fall semester begins Aug. 21.

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Information from: WBMA-TV, http://www.abc3340.com

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