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story.lead_photo.caption News Tribune fileThe chimney in the foreground is atop the Bella Vista Apartments, of 611 E. Capitol Ave, pictured on June 20. The building still stands but not without having suffered major damage during the tornado of May 22. Building owner Steve Laux is working to reopen the apartments as quickly as possible.

After the May 22 tornado damaged Bella Vista Apartments' roof and some of the bricks, owner Steve Laux is working to reopen the apartments.

The twister tore half the roof off, broke a few windows and damaged several bricks that lined the top of the building at 601 E. Capitol Ave. in Jefferson City, Laux said earlier this month. The building appears to be structurally stable, though, he added.

Laux plans to repair the building, constructed around 1928, so it looks almost as it did before the tornado. Some of the new bricks may look slightly different since it might be difficult to find bricks that look like the original ones, he added.

"We're going to try to the best of our ability to fix it back," he said. "Initially, when we first looked at it, the roof and stuff, you think, 'Oh my God, what are we going to do? Tear it down?' But then I came to the realization that we've got to try (to repair it)."

Laux said he wants to repair the building because it is "one of the main cornerstones" of East Capitol Avenue, and he wants to continue to be involved with the revitalization of the area.

"We're going to have to try and overcome," he said. "It's going to be a long process."

Laux said he wants to repair the roof quickly but had to work around the rain earlier this month. He plans to have a structural engineer assess the damage before moving tenants back in, he said.

If repairs go smoothly, Laux said, he hopes to move tenants back in within a couple of months. His ultimate goal is to have the apartments open by next legislative session for legislators.

There were about six permanent renters at Bella Vista Apartments, Laux said, noting he found temporary housing for them.

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