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Colleges in Eastern North Carolina work toward opening their doors again after Florence

Watch a timelapse of downtown Wilmington flooding at high tide

Watch as water flows into the intersection of Water St. and Market St. at high tide in downtown Wilmington, N.C. on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018.
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Watch as water flows into the intersection of Water St. and Market St. at high tide in downtown Wilmington, N.C. on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018.

Some colleges in Eastern North Carolina have yet to open their doors, 10 days after Hurricane Florence flooded large parts of the state.

Community colleges in the region were beginning to get back on their feet. Wayne Community College will restart classes Tuesday, and Brunswick and Southeastern community colleges will hold classes Wednesday.

Others are waiting until Oct. 1 to open to students, including Cape Fear, Pamlico and James Sprunt community colleges, and possibly campuses in Carteret and Craven counties.

Several were set to open to faculty and staff this week but had not made firm decisions about classes. Coastal Carolina and Robeson community colleges may open later this week; Lenoir’s main campus in Kinston and its Jones County center remained closed Monday, but its centers in Greene County and La Grange were open.

Across water-soaked southeastern North Carolina, colleges were dealing with the aftermath, drying out buildings, cleaning up storm debris and assessing damage.

Power was still out to part of the campus of St. Andrews University, a private college in Laurinburg, near the South Carolina line in Scotland County. On Saturday, St. Andrews President Paul Baldasare wrote that power was restored to residential areas of campus, but not to academic buildings. Electrical switch gear rooms had to be dried out before power could return, he wrote.

The university had plans to bring in a mobile kitchen to feed students, after equipment in the cafeteria was damaged.

“While there is much work still be done, a lot of progress has been made on our highest priorities — electrical service, air-conditioning, food service and water mitigation,” Baldasare wrote.

He said the school hopes to make a decision soon about when classes will restart.

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Industrial-sized drying equipment de-humidifies Leutze Hall on UNC Wilmington’s campus on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Julia Wall jwall@newsobserver.com

Methodist University in Fayetteville welcomed students Monday, and the University of Mount Olive’s campuses reopened last week.

UNC Wilmington continues with what Chancellor Zito Sartarelli described as an “extensive recovery and repair effort” in a message to the campus Sunday night. Last week, Sartarelli said the tentative date for classes to start is Oct. 1, but that is still not definite.

On Sunday he asked faculty and staff to report to work on Wednesday, but said employees should make decisions according to their own personal circumstances. The university’s website was up and running Monday after having been shut down in the storm’s aftermath.

“While campus remains very much a work in progress, we have made great strides in recent days – thanks to the incredible dedication of a small group of employees whose Seahawk spirit has been evident in every hour they’ve spent on our campus,” Sartarelli wrote. “We can’t thank them enough, but I hope you’ll join me in trying to do so when you return and reconnect with those colleagues. For now, we are all together in spirit, and that will continue to carry us through this recovery period.”

UNC Pembroke is expected to resume classes Tuesday. The university is working on a plan to make up for lost instructional time, Chancellor Robin Cummings said last week.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559; @janestancill

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