(Creston) Southwestern Community College Dean Of Students Matt Thompson says the outpouring of support Sunday was above and beyond after an EF2 tornado swept through the northwest edge of the city causing significant damage to the Creston Campus Saturday night.
“We definitely saw a demonstration of that. In fact, we had people from Osceola, Lenox, all over southwest Iowa, that were on campus helping pick things up,” said Thompson. “We got a lot accomplished yesterday, there’s a lot to do today.”
Thompson is very thankful that no one was injured during the tornado.
“I woke up this morning thanking God that no students were injured seriously,” said Thompson. “In our residence halls, if you look at them, it would be hard to believe that no one was really seriously hurt or killed. So we’re so fortunate in that aspect.”
Thompson says today the administration will be working with students and families to remove essential items from the resident halls.
“We had a structural engineer in yesterday who said at this point they are reasonably safe to enter to get essential items out and that’s our next step right now,” said Thompson. “We would like to have this weather cooperate with us, we’ve got probably 15 to 20 mph winds out here right now.”
Thompson says the residence halls are closed for the rest of the school year with the exception of maybe one, however there is no power or gas to that structure and the campus is running a backup generator.
“We are housing students in local hotels. As they check in today to get essential items out we will be making reservations for them at our local hotels to accommodate them for the rest of the school year,” explained Thompson.
Matt Thompson says the main instructional center did not receive any significant damage and campus officials continued to assess the rest of the damage to the instructional centers today.
“Our Technical Center that we just remodeled about a year and a half ago; the front atrium has glass windows that were all blown out, but inside that facility things looked pretty good,” said Thompson. “We are hoping to get power back up and running and right now we’re scheduled for Wednesday, we’re going to make that determination probably tomorrow if we’ll have classes on Wednesday or not. We’re definitely going hour by hour right now and we feel like we’ve made some progress. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re very thankful, again, that everybody is safe and that we have a lot of great volunteers in this community to help out.”
Thompson says all of the campus updates are on the website; www.swccciowa.edu.
“We are sending out text messages to faculty, staff and students, to let them know when to check the website for updates, how to get on campus and so forth,” said Thompson. “There is a lot of communication that is taking place and we sure hope that we don’t get good at this because this is one that we hope that we never see again, but we’re dealing with it and we’re going to be alright.”
April 16, 2012