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Evacuation order lifted; Northeast students allowed to leave area shelter

Evacuation order lifted; Northeast students allowed to leave area shelter

NORFOLK, NE – Hundreds of Northeast Community College students have a memory that will stay with them for quite some time. Twenty-four hours after approximately 545 students had to abandon their home on the Norfolk campus due to a flood threat, they have been allowed to return.

The students, who live in Burkhardt, Path and Simon (residence) Halls and two student apartment buildings, were evacuated from the College’s Norfolk campus Thursday morning as they abided by a request by emergency management officials from the City of Norfolk after floodwaters from the nearby North Fork River threatened to spill over a levee that is adjacent to college property.

While many of the students stayed with family and friends, approximately 200 of them spent the day and night at First Christian Church at Victory Road and Benjamin Avenue – approximately a half-mile east of campus and out of the evacuation area.

The students were pleasant and cooperative throughout the evacuation event and in their time at the church,” said Dr. Michael Chipps, president. “Plenty of food, bedding, movies, games and study areas were provided to the students over this time period.”

Once the evacuation order was lifted, the students were allowed to leave the church at approximately 9:00 this morning. Prior to leaving, they had breakfast and pitched in to help clean the church.

“Our students are truly amazing,” Chipps said.

Chartwells, Northeast’s food service provider, supplied items for Thursday’s supper and Friday’s breakfast. In addition, the college ordered pizzas, while volunteers brought in additional food, desserts and bottled water and drinks. Others donated bedding items so the students were comfortable overnight. Separate sleeping areas for both men and women were identified in areas of the church.

Chipps appreciated First Christian Church, its staff and congregation for assisting the college in a time of need.

“We are grateful to Pastor Tim DeFor and his staff for graciously opening their doors to Northeast. According to Pastor DeFor, the mission of the church is to reach out and help one another. That is truly what we witnessed over these past two-days.”

Chipps said Northeast staff came together in a moment’s notice to activate an emergency response team and work with church staff and the college’s RA/SA (residence assistant/student assistant) team to ensure the needs of the students were met.

“Our student team, led by Carli Huston and Spencer Van Buskirk, did a fabulous job. They and Northeast employees are all to be commended for a job well done!”

Chipps credits a new storm sewer system and a detention pond on the north end of campus that collected runoff from this week’s storms from preventing damage to college facilities.

While all college operations remain closed today, normal operations are scheduled to resume this weekend and on Monday.

“I am very proud of how the Northeast family came together over these past 24 hours to carry out our mission that ‘Northeast Community College is dedicated to the success of students and the region we serve,’” Chipps said.



                                                        PHOTO CUTLINE


Pastor Tim DeFor, of First Christian Church in Norfolk, (left) and Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College, address college students in the church’s auditorium Friday morning. Approximately 545 students who reside in college residences halls and apartments evacuated campus Thursday morning after floodwaters from the nearby North Fork River threatened college property. Approximately 200 students spent Thursday and Friday morning at the church, while the remainder of the students stayed with family and friends.