Universities, Student Housing Properties Face Hurricane Florence

by Katie Sloan

North Carolina and South Carolina — From the time Florence made landfall on Friday, the hurricane — which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm — brought record amounts of rainfall, destruction and flooding to North Carolina and South Carolina.

More than 1 million customers have lost power, according to a report by The New York Times, and hurricane-force winds stretched for 100 miles across coastlines in North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Wilmington, North Carolina — home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington — was one of the cities hardest hit by Florence. Much of the area evacuated for the storm. Most of the roads are not passable, with the city remaining largely cut off. 

As late as Tuesday, residents that remained during the storm lined up by the hundreds to receive free water, food and tarps, according to reports by The New York Times

Adam Byrley, chief operating officer of The Preiss Company, reports that the company’s three managed assets in Wilmington — Wilshire Landing, Camden Forest and Plato’s Lofts at Randall — sustained tree damage, minor building damage and flooding over the course of Hurricane Florence. 

As of Monday, power was still unavailable. The company’s staff members, which evacuated during the storm, have not been able to return to the property to fully assess damages or begin normal operations. 

Students have returned to the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill,  according to a release by the university’s Chancellor, Carol Folt. The city is still dealing with serious flooding, and the university’s Friday Center for Continuing Education has been opened as a shelter for hurricane evacuees across the state.

A community owned by EdR in Chapel Hill received water intrusion caused by the high winds and heavy rains endured during the storm, but repairs are already underway.

Damage was limited in Greenville, North Carolina, near East Carolina University. Mike McCarty, vice president of development and construction at Taft Development Group, reported that the company’s two properties in Greenville — one under construction and one stabilized — received no damage during the storm.

In South Carolina, Clemson University offered students evacuating from universities closer to the coast, including Coastal Carolina University in Conway, space to stay in Johnstone Hall, a retired residence hall that was no longer in use, according to local reports. 

Classes have not resumed at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach, according to a report from the office of the president, David DeCenzo. The campus did not receive significant damage, but the surrounding communities have been less fortunate.

Major flooding has caused significant roadway closure throughout Horry County, South Carolina, where the college is located. The university reported on Monday that a supply chain interruption could impact the university’s ability to provide food and shuttle services to students. 

The university’s Kimbel Library opened today to provide students the opportunity for connectivity to work on classroom assignments. Other areas of campus remain closed to students. 

Student housing properties near Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, reported little to no damage during the storm. For EdR, the company’s property in the area saw tree limbs down and some fencing blown over, but otherwise received no damage. 

Katie Sloan

Student Housing Business will continue to report on the impact of Hurricane Florence as information comes in. 

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