JACKSONVILLE, Ala (WIAT) —
Jacksonville State University held a ceremony Tuesday recognizing how far the university has come exactly one year after a tornado caused major damage on campus.
The ceremony was held at the Pete Matthews Coliseum, which is one of the 50 buildings damaged by the tornado. JSU President, Dr. John Beehler, and Jacksonville Mayor, Johnny Smith, were among some of the speakers. Beehler says an EF3 tornado caused more than $100 million in damage. The tornado damaged 50 of the 70 buildings on campus. Beehler says one year later, 40 of those buildings are repaired or in the process of being repaired. The university plans to build two new buildings for the School of Business and Industry as well as the School of Health and Wellness within the next years.
Anna Grace Whitwourth is a senior at JSU and says she is shocked by how much the university has recovered.
“When you lose all but seven of our buildings were damaged, I mean how you can you expect a total recovery in 12 months? That’s ridiculous.” Whitwourth said, “But they did and they’ve done so much for us. I wasn’t expecting it, but I think I speak for all the students when I say that we’re very grateful for it.”
Beehler says student enrollment is up this spring from last year’s spring semester.