Students, Faculty Pleased With Repairs To St. Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory's University
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma - It's been two years since the biggest earthquake to hit Oklahoma struck the campus of one of the state's oldest universities.
St. Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee made national news for its visible destruction following that 5.6 earthquake. Now, the first phase of the building's long road to recovery is complete.
The university unveiled the rebuilt turrets that tumbled down from on top of St. Benedictine Hall in the quake.
"It's really exciting. We always talk about it when we're coming down the drive because you just see the building, and it's really different to see the towers back up," said Gabriela Weigel, a senior at St. Gregory's.
Just like the campus is covered in Homecoming festivities, it was during the Homecoming dance in 2011 when students felt the building shake.
"We just heard it crash, saw the pieces come down, and we all came out to look at it and everything," Weigel said.
The building closed temporarily after one turret fell and the three others were badly damaged.
"This building has been an historic icon for this part of the state, back when it was built, you could see it for miles away," said Greg Main, President of St. Gregory's University. "It was a source of culture because it contained a museum and a library. People came here to learn about the world."
The school held a special blessing ceremony Saturday to highlight the rebuilding progress and construction to come.
"It's like our school got a haircut, which was a big deal because that's our log. It's our towers, our turrets," said Conner Maguire, senior at St. Gregory's. "Like all my classes are there. That's where I go every day. It is home. So it's nice to see that it's at its peak."
The construction has cost St. Gregory's about $2.5 million, and the university will need another $2 million to finish rebuilding. St. Gregory's has plans to replace the building's windows, roof and steps before the school's 100 year anniversary in 2015.