UW-Platteville welcomes students following June tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UW-Platteville welcomes students following June tornado

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UW-Platteville provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder stands with Pioneer Pete to announce the grand re-opening of campus UW-Platteville provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder stands with Pioneer Pete to announce the grand re-opening of campus
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (KWWL) -

Just two-and-a-half months after an EF-2 tornado swept through campus, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is welcoming students for the school year.

At a grand re-opening ceremony Friday morning, dozens of people gathered outside Engineering Hall, one of the buildings damaged in the storm, to kick-off the school year in the wake of the June 16 tornado.

Friday's event coincided with move-in day. Hundreds of UW-Platteville freshmen and their parents streamed into Rountree Commons Residence Hall, moving belongings in boxes.

Luke Mikula was one of those freshmen. He visited UW-Platteville just weeks after the storm and said campus looks a lot better now.

"I think they definitely did some good work on it," Mikula said. "They picked up all the trees and fallen debris that was everywhere, so I think they did a good job of cleaning everything up."

On campus, the tornado damaged the stadium, dozens of trees and five buildings. Three of those buildings were residence halls, which altogether saw a combined total of more than 400 damaged rooms.

Mikula's parents, Neil and Julie Mikula, said school officials expressed confidence about the clean-up, which helped calm their concerns.

"We weren't all that worried about it," Neil Mikula said. "They were reassuring us that they would make it work."

While the three residence halls damaged by the tornado are ready for students, parts of other buildings still need work.

For example, some windows in Engineering Hall remain boarded up, and repairs continue at Pioneer Stadium.

The school hopes to have the stadium open by Sept. 8, in time for its first home game of the season on Sept. 13, where the Platteville Pioneers will face the University of Dubuque Spartans.

Classes begin Tuesday.

A second tornado, an EF-1, hit elsewhere in the city of Platteville that night of June 16. Between the two twisters, only one person was seriously injured, and she is now recovering.

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