NEW ORLEANS, La. (Oct. 4, 2012) – Hartzell/Camphor and Straight Hall dormitories have been inhabitable since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While both dormitories undergo major renovations, many questions swirl around the historical landmarks. Why is the process taking so long? Why were the Student Union and Professional Studies buildings built before renovating the dormitories, and will the bed capacity increase?
New Orleans is slowly but surely rebuilding the city that residents once took pride in, and Dillard University is no stranger to rebuilding. One of the hardest-hit campuses along the Gulf Coast, it sustained an estimated $282 million worth of damage, including Hartzell/Camphor and Straight.
“I could remember returning to campus for the first time and seeing the building I once called home not standing anymore,” said alumnus Drew Daniels, a sophomore at the time. Xavier and Tulane universities, which didn’t have as much damage, were fully renovated in five months and open to students in January 2006. I understand the challenges involved with renovations of this magnitude, but it’s been seven years.
According to the administration, the decision to build the Student Union and Professional Schools Building (PSB) before dorm repair wasn’t a choice. The dorm renovations were funded by The National Parks and a grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency whereas the Student Union and PSB were funded by an HBCU Cap Loan. According to Facilities, certain guidelines and restrictions come into play when renovating the dorms, thus creating kinks in the process. In addition to dealing with three different agencies, the university was required to perform environmental remediation before moving on with construction.
Renovations should be done by the spring 2013. We can hardly wait to see those beautiful white buildings up and fully operational. Look at it this way: It’s not as long as it has been.
Mass Communication sophomore