It took mere hours Monday to transform Centenary College’s Fitness Center into a makeshift shelter – turning a basketball court into a space for cots and linens and transforming meeting rooms into quiet spaces for Dillard University students to talk to family members and study away from their New Orleans dorms.

That evening the Shreveport campus began housing approximately 120 Dillard students and administrators trying to escape Tropical Storm Isaac. Centenary officials started preparing for possible evacuees Friday.

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“If they need anything at all we’ll be here,” said Lt. Eddie Walker, chief of Centenary’s Department of Public Safety. “We want to be comforting and make this as easy a process for them as possible.”

In addition to housing, Margo Shideler, Centenary’s director of strategic communication, said campus officials are trying to anticipate any other needs students may have. Workers also upgraded wireless systems in the fitness center to accommodate the additional students wishing to check in with loved ones or do coursework.

Dillard’s students also will have full use of campus facilities, including the student union, and will use their existing Dillard meal plans at Centenary’s cafeteria.

“They’ll be just like any other Centenary student,” Shideler said.

At Grambling State University, the campus’ emergency response team is preparing to step up in the event Xavier University students need shelter. Currently, Xavier’s plan is to ride out the storm with students staying on the New Orleans campus or at home.

However, GSU may be used for emergency medical treatment and limited shelter assistance for all evacuees in the event of an emergency related to the storm, and officials will continue to work with Xavier in the event outside shelter is needed. In a release, GSU staff were busy securing bunks, cots and water as well as checking emergency generators.

“We have planned for emergencies such as this and we’re implementing elements of that plan,” said GSU President Frank Pogue.

As for other campus closures and shelters: read more…