Albany State proves "unsinkable" in Flood of '94 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany State proves "unsinkable" in Flood of '94

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July 12, 2004

Albany -- Albany State University was devastated by the flood of 1994. Classrooms were under water and hundreds who lived on campus were displaced. But when the water receded the school would prove to be unsinkable.

Ten years ago Kirk Wilcox was 20 years old. He came to Albany from McRae,Georgia to be part of the Freshman class of 1994 at what was then Albany State College.

"I came to Albany State, my sister was here ,and other family members had come to school here. My parents thought it would be good place to come," says Wilcox.

So that summer when it started to rain and news reports warned of the flood, it was unthinkable to Wilcox and many of the three thousand others students that their school was in jeopardy.

"It's was almost unbelievable that the water would come and that it would flood the entire campus and more than the entire campus of Albany state College Campus at the time."

But the waters of the swollen Flint River, next to campus, was quickly flooding the campus.

"Everybody was evacuated from campus at the time. Students came back to this very parking lot that we are in to help sandbag.

But as the water kept coming they would see their efforts were in vain. Students watched TV from hotel rooms and shelters while their school disappeared under muddy water.

Images that made them wonder if it was the end for their school? And an end to their dreams of getting degrees from ASC.

"A lot of students were concerned whether summer school would continue and where it would continue.

And under the leadership of Mr. Bill C. Black our president at time classes resume at Dougherty Middle school," says Wilcox.

The biggest lost for the historically black school would be the equipment building. 19 of the 34 original campus buildings sustained more than 50% damage and many had to be demolished. Sot 8:

As things returned to normal those saved reopened. Portable trailers housed classes. And the school adopted a new slogan, "Unsinkable Albany State -- Bigger, Stronger and Better."

With the help of flood money the school bought 75 acres above the flood plain and began a $140 million construction project. In one year, 15 buildings were restored to pre-flood conditions. Kirt Wilcox went on to get his degree.

"The since of community and unity has come back since the flood.".

A sense of unity that came from a flood that put the students of Albany State to the biggest test of their lives.

posted at 4:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com