By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
RUSTON – Three months after a tornado heavily damaged the Louisiana Tech University Baptist Collegiate Ministry chapel, crews began repairing the facility.
Kevin Inman, director of the Louisiana Tech BCM, said workers from Triad Builders in Ruston started work July 22 and that he is hopeful they will complete the job before the start of fall classes in early September. Workers will replace water-logged walls and carpet, rebuild a porch and restore the roof.
Insurance money will fund the repairs.
“We are very excited and hopeful that a whole lot is going to be done in the next month to get us where we can use the building when the students get back Labor Day weekend — when we will have up to 1,500 students attending some of our Welcome Week events,” Inman said. “The first week of school is the best time to reach a student, but also the easiest time to lose a student.
“Pray that the crews are able to finish this work by Labor Day weekend,” he continued. “And pray that things will be repaired correctly. A number of things can be improved upon to make our building and ministry more effective.”
He also asked Louisiana Baptists to pray that staff and student leaders will be ready to reach students come September.
An EF-3 tornado touched down in Ruston April 25 and destroyed homes and businesses in its path. The 135-165 mph winds knocked over three oak trees that fell on the roof of the BCM building. No students were injured at the time of the incident.
Other areas of the BCM complex were not impacted, and students were able to use the lobby to meet for worship, lunch meetings and other outreach activities that normally would be held in the chapel.
Just hours after the storm passed through Ruston, BCM students helped remove the trees and clear other debris from the building. Inman was excited to see students respond so quickly to help the BCM in the time of need.
“We have had unbelievable support from churches, alumni and others across the state and nation,” Inman said. “Our students worked non-stop for three to four days helping others on campus and in the community.”
Moreover, he was impressed with their focus on Christ during the cleanup: “They were able to share with others that we aren’t guaranteed another day and that Jesus is their hope.”