WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Officials with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington announced Friday evening that University Apartments — an on-campus student housing complex — will be closed indefinitely due to extensive damage the complex suffered during Hurricane Florence last month.
University officials posted on Facebook that “after two weeks of assessing the damage to University Apartments, evaluating the steps that would be necessary to try to remediate all issues as we continued to move through the repairs, and considering our short- and long-term options, we have made the decision we now believe is in the best interest and safety of our students. We have determined that it will not be feasible for students to move back into University Apartments, and we do not expect the apartments to reopen anytime soon."
The decision leaves 400 students without a permanent place to live.
First-year college students Hailey Overcash and Courtney Page are roommates who lived in University Apartments.
“I was kind of heartbroken," said Overcash when she saw the news that her residence would be closed. "This is my favorite place to be. We had already made it feel like home. And it’s kind of like we lost our home.”
“The place that we made our home is now no longer our home," said Page. "So it’s like we’re going to have to restart that whole process over again. That’s kind of gut-wrenching.”
The roommates said returning after Hurricane Florence to the reality of moving residence halls feels like starting college over again.
“I feel like, if I hadn’t been as close as I was with my roommates, then this would be even harder. Because I wouldn’t have anybody to turn to," said Page. “Even though it’s a big hurdle, we’re going to have to get over it and keep moving forward.”
The UNCW Facebook post also said, “we simply could not leave students (and their parents) in limbo any longer, wondering when they could move back in, and potentially having the date pushed back repeatedly. We realize that this an enormous shock for you.”
Affected students will be emailed about their new housing assignment Friday night and will be allowed to retrieve their belongings from University Apartments at 10 a.m. Saturday and begin to move in.
“We can’t begin to tell you how sorry we are for the massive disappointment and disruption this is, and we will do whatever we can to support you during this time,” the post concluded.