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Ala. college ready for graduation post-storm


Horticulturalist Rene Cornelius works to repair the landscape damaged by recent storms to prepare the campus for graduation ceremonies.

​In the wake of the storms that hit Wallace State Community College (WSCC) in Hanceville, Ala., last month, physical plant and other staff, along with contractors, worked feverishly to ready the campus for graduation ceremonies this weekend.

“It was important to us to keep graduation as scheduled to celebrate the accomplishments of our students who have worked so hard to get to this point, and many of whom have been through so much in the last couple of weeks,” said WSCC President Vicki Hawsey. “We have much to be thankful for.”

Hawsey said she was proud of the WSCC family, who were focused on helping students finish the semester on time. The college reopened for students about a week after a tornado ripped the campus.

“We’ve been rushing to get repairs done to areas of campus that were damaged and will continue to trouble-shoot and correct any problems that arise,” said Phill Studdard, director of facilities at the college. “We’re in the midst of beginning extensive roof repair and restoring interiors damaged by water intrusion as we finish the more immediate removal of unsightly debris to restore the beauty of campus.”

Groundskeepers have been busy repairing lost landscaping, about 40 percent of which was affected.

Horticulturalist Rene Cornelius spent several days last week tending to areas of the campus where students congregate, including the Burrow Center, which held a reception Friday prior to the ceremony. Newly planted trees have been righted and secured, and rosebushes pruned.

For the most part, things have returned to normal. Registration for summer semester is underway, and on-site registration begins on Monday. Summer classes will start as scheduled on May 25.

Students who elected to take a final exam were on campus last week completing that work, and students participating in graduation picked up their gowns and regalia.

“It’s been such a joy to see students milling about campus this week,” said Tomesa Smith, vice president for students.