BILOXI -- Ten years, to the day, since Tulane University reopened its Gulf Coast campus after Hurricane Katrina, university and city officials gathered for the official opening of a new campus in Biloxi on Monday.
The 14,961 square-foot building across from Edgewater Mall doubles the size of Tulane's previous facility on the Coast and serves 1,000 students. It has state-of-the-art technology labs and security systems and boasts an eco-friendly design, officials said.
University leaders are seeking a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - or LEED - platinum certification. Tulane would be the first building in the state with that certification.
Most of all though, officials said, the new campus continues a tradition of Tulane's dedication to the Gulf Coast community and to moving forward in education by integrating classes on a physical campus with online instruction.
"With this facility, we will be here a long time," said Richard Marksbury, the dean of the School of Continuing Studies. "We are part of this community."
This spring, the campus will offer classes in anthropology, earth and environmental studies, homeland security studies and psychology, among other programs.
It will offer the first doctorate in social work in Mississippi, officials said.
On a day that began with storms, there was plenty of weather metaphors in the speeches.
"The sun shined this morning," said Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich. "And it will shine bright more many more days here."