Fire Heavily Damages Mississippi Dormitory
136-Bed Facility May Be Damaged Beyond Repair
“All 136 beds are now out of commission and will be for the forseeable future,” spokeswoman Cathy Hayden wrote in an email. “I do not expect Williams Hall to be habitable any time soon —if ever.”' Hayden said officials are working on temporary placements for residents of Williams Hall, a pair of former Army barracks that have been on the school’s Raymond campus since 1947.
One half of the L-shaped building was gutted by fire, while the other half was damaged by smoke and water.
All of Hinds’ other 1,400 dorm beds are reserved for the fall semester, but Housing Director DeAndre House says some beds will open as students make other plans.
Williams Hall houses athletes and band members. Two coaches were living there and six students had begun moving in, while some others had stored belongings there. Those students stayed at the college’s conference center, with the college providing gift cards and clothing to cover students' losses. The college’s foundation is collecting money and gift cards for the coaches and staff who lost property.
Classes began Aug. 15 at the 12,000-student community college, but football players, band members and drill team members are beginning to arrive on campus for practice.
The cause of the fire is being investigated. Hayden said the college has insurance, but can’t yet estimate the value of the loss.
Hinds’ historic main building burned in 1998 and was later rebuilt as Cain- Cochran Hall.