Three months after a parking garage collapsed and forced Miami Dade College’s West campus to close, students will return to their regular classes Tuesday.
After the five-story parking garage pancaked Oct.10, killing four workers trapped inside, the 8,000 students enrolled at the Doral campus were moved to other locations, including MDC’s North and Kendall campuses, Ronald Regan Senior High School and Nova Southeastern University’s Kendall campus, said MDC spokesman Juan Mendieta.
“Safety is our top priority, and if it requires that we have to move our students away from the accident scene, then that’s what we have to do,” Mendieta said Monday.
MDC established a pick-up and drop-off site at International Mall, where buses took students to and from their classes on alternate campuses between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The school also provided counselors at the drop-off site and the alternate campuses so students would have someone to talk to.
“The students who were there obviously had to deal with a pretty traumatic event,” Mendieta said. “We really tried to go out of our way to make things as smooth as possible.”
Still, he estimated that a couple dozen students had to withdraw as a result of the Doral campus closing.
The cause of the collapse is still unknown.
Mendieta said the investigation could take another three or four months to complete. After that, college administrators will decide whether to salvage the parking garage, which was originally supposed to cost about $22.5 million to build, or to demolish it and start over.
For now, MDC is getting students back to normal.
“We want to thank students and employees who were affected for their cooperation and we hope that we can move forward from this with some lessons learned,” he said.