- 1 dead, at least 17 injured after tornado rips Alabama town
- Alabama tornado leaves 1 dead, several critically injured
- Tornado leaves several injured, homes damaged in Alabama
- Senior-laden Hurricanes edge Rockets to keep playoffs in sight
- An ex-Marine who was arrested for his role in the U.S. Capitol riots previously went viral for rescuing dogs during Hurricane Florence
Florence damaged drywall, ceilings and floors at the 8-year-old building
WILMINGTON — Five months after Hurricane Florence, Wilmington leaders are ready to repair the last of the convention center’s storm scars.
Erris Dunston of the city manager’s office said a building assessment found the storm did an estimated $220,000 in damage to the interior. An architectural assessment for the building’s exterior is underway.
In October, the city allocated $250,000 to recovery at the Wilmington Convention Center, part of some $17.5 million it put toward Hurricane Florence-related repairs that month.
Since then, crews have begun tearing out drywall and carpet soaked by days’ worth of water intrusion at the height of the storm. Dunston said the contractor who wins the project will be responsible for putting the building back together.
Damaged parts of the building include meeting rooms, administrative offices, the exhibit gallery and the marina concourse.
But that early repair work has not interrupted events at the convention center since the storm, including October’s “One Tree Hill” fan convention and December’s Wilmington Regional Economic Scorecard conference. Dunston said the plan is for upcoming events to also go on as scheduled.
“The center is not closed — it is up and running,” she said. “We had a little bit of down time right after the storm, but since then we’ve worked around the damage.”
The existing structure, completed in 2010, was built to withstand winds of up to 130 mph, equivalent to a low-level Category 4 hurricane.
But Florence was an unusual storm. Though it made landfall here as a Category 1 storm, its slow crawl inland meant the Wilmington area was drenched with days of rain.
Across the region, that downpour was responsible for more flooding than was ocean storm surge. Dunston said city leaders are hopeful Florence is not indicative of what future hurricanes might do to the building.
“Internally, it wasn’t from rising floodwater, it was more from the wind and the rain,” Dunston said. “I really think this was kind of a unique situation for us, but we are trying to make sure our repairs sustain through future storms.”
Reporter Cammie Bellamy can be reached at Cammie.Bellamy@StarNewsOnline.com.