DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Campus leaders at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach have not yet set a return date after flooding and severe winds from Ian left significant damage to much of campus.
The campus issued a mandatory evacuation order back on Sept. 26 ahead of Hurricane Ian.
The interim president, Dr. Lawrence Drake, told News 6 that leaders are still assessing the damages and working to make sure it’s safe for students to return.
“Mostly what we have is a lot of debris,” Drake said. “Yes, we did have some flooding.”
On campus Tuesday, News 6 crews saw trees down on campus and the awning of at least one building had collapsed.
Drake said they don’t yet have an estimate on the price tag for the cleanup, but they’ll be working with local, state and federal leaders in the process.
“I’d like to try to keep it to 10 days to two weeks if we can have some sort of time frame, but it’s going to depend a lot on our debris cleanup,” Drake said. “We’ve got homecoming, so we’ve got to make sure they’re here for there.”
In a letter Sunday, university officials told students that the university would remain closed for the remainder of the week.
Homecoming 2022 is Oct. 30 - Nov. 5.
Tayshawn Levy lives on campus and, like many students, is now back at home with his family. He said his parents are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I’m ready to go back. The next step for me would be making sure everything is safe for me to go back because I’ve never been in a hurricane,” Levy said.
Levy said that when he heard about the evacuation order, he took action fast.
“I was calling everyone like, ‘I have to get home now, I have to get home now.’ I packed my stuff immediately,” he said.
The university sent students and faculty an update Wednesday evening, saying that information about the university’s plan for a “safe return” would be provided Friday, Oct. 7.
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