NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Dillard University is reopening three dormitories that have been closed since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005.

All three were part of the original master plan created in the 1930s for the university, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. One is ready now, the second will be ready next week and the third will open in mid-September after renovations totaling $23 million, New Orleans CityBusiness reported (

Keith McKendall, Dillard's assistant vice president for facilities, said the university was struggling with the dormitory work when he was hired three years ago. A key step toward starting construction was hiring Vanir Construction Management as the project manager, he said.

McKendall said Vanir, a Sacramento, Calif., company with an office in New Orleans, divided the work into separate projects to create clearer lines of funding and coordinated design and construction. Work finally began in September 2011.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Park Service, which oversees the Register of Historic Places, provided most of the money.

Straight Hall is ready for occupancy by 75 male students. Work for wireless Internet capacity remains at Camphor Hall, where 150 female freshmen and sophomores will live. They'll be able to move in soon.

A minor structural issue will prevent Hartzell Hall, which can house 100 students, from opening until Sept. 15. The junior class females expected to move in will stay for the meantime at Williams Hall, which has been the primary dorm on campus while the others were closed.

Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness,

Read or Share this story: