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McNeese holds news conference on plans to rebuild by spring 2021

Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 9:59 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese State University held a news conference Thursday to discuss rebuilding plans following Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

McNeese State University President Dr. Daryl Burckel was joined by local and state leaders to discuss the damage assessment and share the construction timeline. Dr. Burckel said the speed of the recovery process is vital because without students on-campus, the operations of the university could be at jeopardy.

“We can’t wait to come back in the fall and just have a time in the spring where we just kind [of]try to recover; we have to recover for the spring," he said.

The goal is to bring the McNeese Cowboys home by spring 2021, but it’s not a simple task. Dr. Burckel said the construction plan divides the university into seven zones.

“For the academic zone from Sale Street to McNeese Street, Ryan Street to Common Street, the bids came in at $77 million for repair work," he said.

That bid only includes the damage from Hurricane Laura. Additional damage assessments from Hurricane Delta could leave the academic zone repairs costing up to $96 million. In order to fast-track the construction, the university will have multiple contractors working on the project.

“We knew that the rebuild process would be too big for one contractor and we wanted all of campus coming up at one time," he said.

As McNeese moves forward in its recovery, Dr. Burckel said student housing is a top priority.

“We’ve prioritized construction for facilities that we know need to be safe, operational and conducive to education and learning," he said.

The university created a website highlighting the path to recovery. Students can visit ComeHomeCowboys.com to view the progress of individual buildings on campus.

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