With classes still in trailers, students upset at slow SUNO repairs



Posted on July 19, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 19 at 6:21 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Eight years after Hurricane Katrina, much of the SUNO campus is a construction site, with buildings under repair, and first floors closed due to storm surge flooding long ago.

"It's depressing," Darrell Tobias, the SUNO Student Government Association president, said, "and when you go to Southern in Baton Rouge, they have a beautiful facility, and every other university has a beautiful facility."

"I'm a proud SUNO student," said Harold Enclarde. "I mean I learned a lot here, there's a lot of wisdom around, from the professors and things. But the campus? The campus is another story."

So they showed me the water leaks and cobwebs, the dark, gutted auditorium, and the tiny temporary library.

"It is real small, to a very limited amount of books," Kareem Kennedy, a senior, said. "Sometimes we have to go to the other universities."

But most depressing, the trailers used as classrooms.

"It is very muggy and hot in those trailers," said Kareem.

"UNO is right next door, and they don't have trailers, but we still have trailers," said Darrell.

The students say they are upset enough to plan demonstrations during the school year to let administrators know just how serious their concerns are. But university leaders say they are equally upset, also frustrated, but they say things are changing.

Administrators say the state does the work, and FEMA is paying the $100-million bill, and it is a time consuming process. But repairs to three buildings will be completed in a year, including a new library, and a University Center with a pool, lounge, and fitness facility.

The old trailers are being replaced with modular classrooms until four new buildings are built. Administrators say SUNO will have a new look. The students want it faster.

"I think (Gov.) Bobby Jindal, I think he has a huge part on what's happening over here at SUNO," concluded Kareem.