USM tornado damage estimated in tens of millions

February 13, 2013 - 8:30 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Officials estimate it will take tens of millions of dollars to repair damage by Sunday's tornado at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

The College Board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds to sign contracts and take other actions without board approval to help the 16,000-student school recover.

Officials say USM plans to resume classes Thursday, although 87 sections will be in temporary quarters.

The tornado damaged eight or nine buildings at the southern edge of the school's campus. One of those, a former fire station converted to house the jazz program, will have to be torn down, Bounds says.

Most of the damage to the school is expected to be covered by a $500 million insurance policy. The policy carries a $100,000 deductible.