Since Hurricane Harvey first devastated Port Aransas, we have been following the city’s journey toward recovery. In August, we reported that Port Aransas’ tourism industry was recovering faster than expected. This recovery boosted the area’s economy and shaved two years off the estimated recovery time for the city.
Local tourism was not the only cornerstone of Port Aransas harmed by Hurricane Harvey. The violent storm brought 130 mph winds that ripped open the University of Texas Marine Science Institute’s buildings, making them vulnerable to water damage and flooding. This September, the Star-Telegram is reporting that the university has managed to open 45 percent of its 78 buildings.
Students have been able to return to campus after working from temporary labs for months. However, there is still plenty to do before the school is fully recovered. The school lost a $5 million research pier after an offshore drilling rig broke free during Harvey and slammed into it. Additionally, the campus still needs to make more than half of its buildings usable again.
"When the initial damage first was being reported, people were asking 'Is it worth rebuilding? Is it going to be reopened?’ But we're committed to recovering, committed to rebuilding and committed to reopening. The mission of MSI is just too important,” says Greg Fenves, University of Texas President.
Planning for the Future
Loud bangs echo throughout the campus of the Marine Science Institute, a sign that the repair process is well on its way. Officials have estimated that the project will cost $45 million and hope to have it finished by late 2019. Rebuilding the campus isn’t just about replacing lost buildings—efforts are focusing on using hurricane-resistant materials to prevent destruction in the future.
Additionally, the university has developed a more comprehensive disaster response plan. When Harvey made landfall, university officials were able to safely evacuate everyone. However, there was no plan in place to safely store dangerous chemicals.
Despite the damage we suffered, efforts like the university's demonstrate that our communities will only get stronger from our recovery process. Port Aransas and the Marine Science Institute embody the resilience of Texas.
If you are still fighting for compensation for damages caused by Hurricane Harvey, call our insurance claims lawyers today at (888) 400-2101 for a free consultation.