Workers place debris in a large waste container in front of the Lamar State College-Orange Green Avenue building on Tuesday morning. Several of the LSC-O facilities, including the Wilson building, book store and print shop, sustained considerable damage from the Sabine River flooding this past week. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – The Record

It’s a little bit like deja vu for many across Orange County following this past week’s flooding, including for those at Lamar State College-Orange.

Floodwater from the Sabine River found its way into downtown Orange this past week and Lamar State College-Orange (LSC-O) sustained considerable damage to several of its properties. Although not as devastating as the storm surge from Hurricane Ike, the Sabine River flood was an unwelcome event for all.

“We are working on remediation of the Green Avenue building and the Wilson buildings right now,” said Cindy Wyles, public information director of LSC-O. “It’s not as bad as it was for the college during Hurricane Ike, but the Green Avenue building had 10-inches of water in it this time, and the Wilson building had five-inches.”

Wyles said the LSC-O print shop sustained considerable damage, as did the LSC-O Book Store, along with the numerous classrooms and labs in the two large buildings.

“The dental lab was completely destroyed and the information technology rooms had extensive damage as well,” Wyles continued. “We will be replacing all of the flooring and tile in both buildings, and most of the sheetrock up to four-feet up the wall. Also damaged were the Leisure Learning and Education rooms. We don’t have any cost estimates on damage yet.”

Fortunately for the college, students were on spring break this past week so the amount of missed instruction time was minimal as classes were only canceled this past Monday and Tuesday.

“We feel fortunate that it wasn’t as bad as the damage was during Hurricane Ike,” Wyles added. “And we are very fortunate that this will not interrupt classes any more than it has or our spring commencement.”

Wyles said Dr. Michael Shahan and other LSC-O administrators were wading through floodwaters to assess damage this past weekend and cleanup began on Sunday once the floodwaters had receded from the campus buildings.

Staff returned to campus on Monday to assist in the cleanup process and Dr. Gwen Whitehead, vice president of academic affairs, met with faculty to address the situation and present the administration’s plan of action for the remainder of the semester.

“The preliminary estimate is that it will be four-to-six weeks on making all of the necessary repairs,” Wyles said. “We hope to have everything back to normal by summer. It’s a long road to go, but, unfortunately, it is one we are very familiar with.”