Tornado puts hold on Eureka School Museum Construction - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Tornado puts hold on Eureka School Museum Construction

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HATTIESBURG- The Eureka School in downtown Hattiesburg was under reconstruction to be turned into a museum in honor of the Freedom Summer of 1964.

The building was built as a school house for African American students in the early 1920s.

"This is a 1921 building and it's well built," said Rick Taylor, the executive director of the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission.  "We've lost some of the ceiling on the first floor as the water has caused the wood to turn loose and fall to the floor."

Latoya Norman who is the museum director of the African American Military History Museum also works closely with the Eureka School.

"We were hoping to have it opened by 2014," she said.

She said parts of the building were suppose to be ready by this June.

"Now that's completely off the table," Norman said.    

Taylor said the museum process started back in 2009. The outside structure and the parking lot were completely finished.

"We are on phase three right now which was a restoration to the cafeteria and the rest rooms," he said.

After the tornado did it's damage, Taylor said the days of rain following Sunday caused even more problems.

"We need to get a roof back on the building to prohibit further damage," he said.

"It wreaks havoc on the time frame we had for opening this museum," said Taylor.

The Tourism Commission is not sure how much the damage will cost them to rebuild.

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