Holmes CC in Goodman continues making repairs after spring storm

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Students are back in the classroom at Holmes Community College in Goodman. It comes nearly five months after a tornado damaged just about every roof on campus.

The school’s president says they were hard at work this summer, scrambling to get campus ready to go for students this week.

That damage, by the way, came with an estimated 20 million dollar price tag.

“It’s a slow grind, you know, when you’re waiting on, you know, insurance on probably 60 buildings to make determinations,” said Jim Haffey, president of Holmes Community College. “You just have to push forward and hope for the best.”

When I was inside Holmes Community College’s cafeteria in March, I was standing in about an inch worth of water and dodging tiles that were falling from the ceiling.

Almost five months later, it’s like nothing ever happened.

“The thing that we really understood early on was we have to take charge of this ourselves. We’ve got to rebuild. We can’t sit back and wait on FEMA or an insurance company or a grant to come bail us out,” Haffey said.

Perhaps the group of students impacted most by the spring storm was the football players, as the tornado caused extensive damage to just about every football-related building, including three dorms where the athletes were staying.

“Our offices, of course, are in our dorms, so our dorm and our offices, we moved out,” head football coach Marcus Wood said. “We actually were in the library throughout the summer. That’s really where we kind of hunkered down as an office, and then we moved around. We have a smaller weight room down in the gym, and we’ve been using that and then the actual equipment room. We lost all of our equipment.”

As crews continue making repairs, the school’s president says they’re also bracing the buildings for the next round of severe weather.

“Every repair that we’ve done, I think, puts our buildings safer than they were,” Haffey said. “We certainly have looked at safe spaces for our students and identified some of those areas and want to continue to make sure that you know when we have a residence group here on campus that they have a safe place to go.”

Haffey estimates there’s at least another seven to eight million dollars in repairs that still need to be made.

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