UNCW needs another year to fully recover from Hurricane Florence

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Wilmington got hit hard during Florence. The power was out for days, businesses dealt with massive flooding and widespread damage from so many downed trees.

A year of hard work and rebuilding has made a big difference. In the downtown river district, businesses are back open and are eager for customers.

One area that got hit particularly hard is the UNC-Wilmington campus. The campus was closed for four weeks after the hurricane just for crews to get the university ready for students and staff to return.

The school's main science building, Dobo Hall, along with several on-campus apartments suffered the most damage. Chancellor Jose Sartarelli said the campus suffered more than $120 million worth of damage due to Florence.

"Florence forced us to terminate 13 student apartments that each one accommodated 32 students, and we had to tear them down. So we tore them down and started a new project for 1,800 new beds. By the fall of next year, we will have at least two of the buildings about 1,100 beds ready to go."

Throughout the rebuilding process, Chancellor Sartarelli adds, "The Department of Insurance has been very helpful, and we are thankful to them. FEMA has also contributed, but we are still a year away from completion."

Dobo Hall is one building that still has a lot of work that still needs to be done, but Sartarelli said it should be ready for students by next fall. Despite the rebuilding going on throughout campus, he says it did not hurt their enrollment.

"This fall we added 750 students additional, a huge number," Sartarelli said. In fact, UNCW fall enrollment set a university record.

The rebuilding process also continues in several neighborhoods throughout Wilmington. The North Chase neighborhood was hit hard by Florence as they were without power for days, and tress caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage to homes.

While many homes are rebuilt and the downed trees are gone there are several homes with tarps still covering big holes in the homes.
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