Re-opening ceremony held, 74 days after tornado
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville ceremoniously “re-opened” its campus Friday, just 74 days after an EF-2 tornado significantly damaged five campus buildings, Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium and Memorial Park.
UW System President Dr. Ray Cross joined UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder on the back patio of Engineering Hall, whose damaged exterior is still visible.
“It’s unbelievable how quickly you have done this,” said Cross. “I think it speaks to your commitment to serve students. My compliments to you; I hope you are proud of what you have accomplished, those of us in the system are. I hope you realize that today, the rest of the system stands with you, and we, too, are all Pioneers.”
Friday was move-in day, as students transferred their belongings into the residence halls, including Bridgeway Commons, Rountree Commons and Southwest Hall. The three newest halls had more than 400 rooms damaged.
Chancellor Shields thanked those who offered support and assisted in the recovery process, including area first responders, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and state legislators, UW System colleagues, Wisconsin Department of Administration, many contractors and several departments across campus, among others.
“All of these people have stepped up in a big way, and we owe them a great debt of thanks,” said Chancellor Shields. “All of these people are the reason why every day is a great day to be a Pioneer.”
Exterior and some spots still need to be done on the impacted buildings, but with new windows, walls and furniture, the residence halls rooms were ready for move-in day.
“This tornado also brought out the very best in people, both from UW-Platteville employees and those who arrived to help,” Den Herder said. “Immediately, everyone came together on a single mission, and that was to ready our campus in time for today. And that is what we are celebrating this morning, the hard work and dedication that made this day possible.”
Written by: Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, firstname.lastname@example.org