Chipola College ‘thriving, not just surviving’

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MARIANNA, Fla (WMBB)– Chipola College was devastated by Hurricane Michael. The campus’ landscape was destroyed, but their positivity is still alive.

Chipola College suffered 14 million dollars worth of damage.

“It’s been such a challenge to rebuild. You can’t get the materials, you can’t get the skilled labor. It’s just not available,” said Sarah Clemmons, Chipola College President.

The campus was once covered with over 1,000 trees. Now, it has barely any. After removing the downed trees and debris, they were faced with a new challenge.

“The issue became the buildings that were damaged. We had a couple that had severe damage that we had to move out of and every roof on campus was damaged,” Clemmons said.

Before the storm, the college was renovating the Student Center. The storm damaged that project, but they did not give up.

“We went forward with that. We had a construction group that committed and so they stayed with us,” Clemmons said.

Despite the college experiencing a 10% decrease in enrollment for the summer, Clemmons says she is proud of her staff and students.

“There is a different attitude on the part of students too. They don’t take their education for granted. They don’t take just coming to college for granted,” Clemmons said.

Clemmons says her motto for the school year is “Chipola College thriving, not just surviving”.

The college hopes to have construction finished by the first anniversary of Hurricane Michael.

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