6 months after tornado, university charts its future course
JACKSONVILLE, Alabama (AP) — Six months after a tornado tore through the campus of Jacksonville State University, the school aims to open a new baseball stadium and fitness and wellness center.
The upgrades are planned despite a slight decrease in undergraduate enrollment and damages caused by the March 19 tornado, Al.com reported .
Fall 2018 undergraduate enrollment decreased by 170 students compared to last fall, school officials said. However, graduate student enrollment increased by 82 students.
“There were moments over the past few months when we thought we were facing an enrollment loss of 5-10 percent. That kind of drop would have been devastating to JSU both financially and socially,” Jacksonville State President John Beehler said.
“I am very pleased with these results and want to thank all employees for their efforts in the recovery and rebuilding process and every student who stood by the university during this difficult time,” Beehler added.
Costs related to the storm damage have risen to more than $70 million compared to the $42 million estimate given soon after the tornado.
Additionally, 50 of the school’s 70 structures were damaged. Now, 40 of those damaged buildings have either been repaired or are in the process of receiving new roofs, Al.com reported.
Repairs have been completed at Logan Hall, Patterson Hall, International House, Rock House, the infirmary and student center. Repairs to Meehan Hall were to be completed by this weekend, Al.com reported.
In the next couple of weeks, repairs will be completed at Theron Montgomery Building, Crow Hall, Dixon Hall, Curtiss Hall, Fitzpatrick Hall, Daugette Hall and Hammond Hall.
Work will continue through the end of the year and into early 2019 on Ayers Hall, Bibb Graves Hall, Martin Hall, McGee Hall, Stone Center, Houston Cole Library, Pete Mathews Coliseum, Brewer Hall, Salls Hall and Self Hall, officials said.
Also, Merrill Hall is set for demolition and the Alumni House was demolished over the summer. The Honors House and Mason Hall are being renovated and upgraded.