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UI flood mitigation planners have decisions ahead of them

BY JENNIFER DELGADO | MARCH 27, 2009 7:35 AM

Rebuilding the UI after last summer’s flood has been a complex process, but officials said they are committed to moving forward.

Members of the UI’s Flood Mitigation Task Force and Campus Planning Committee met Thursday with the Iowa City community to discuss ongoing plans for flood work.

Officials said they are in the process of making decisions, but these plans and their effects may not be seen for four or five years.

“We want to make sure we are taking our time to answer the questions as best as we can,” said Gregg Oden, a co-head of the flood task force.

After a 10-minute presentation, some community members asked about the future of the badly damaged Arts Campus.

Although officials haven’t decided whether to rebuild or relocate some of the buildings, committee members said they are looking at eight different relocation sites, including Hubbard Park, the UI’s Marching Band practice field, and an area near the Levitt Center. If the facilities are built in a new location, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 90 percent of the costs, officials added.

“If we are going to replace, we are going to replace where it couldn’t get wet,” said Rod Lehnertz, the UI director of planning, design, and construction in Facilities Management.

But accomplishing these goals hasn’t been easy — UI officials said they wanted to complete the planning process earlier.

“Working with consultants and FEMA has turned out to be a slower process,” Oden said. “We hope things will go a little faster.”

Space for possible relocations is a large problem — officials said they need an area big enough to accommodate the buildings and the requisite nearby parking lots. They also want such facilities as Hancher Auditorium, Voxman Music Building, and Clapp Recital Hall to be located near each other.

Individual consultants and architects are working closely with other damaged buildings in efforts to complete current mitigation projects. Some buildings, such as the IMU, still do not have an estimated date of completion.

Officials said another priority is isolating all underground tunnels to prevent future water damage.

Their No. 1 priority is the Power Plant, which took on roughly 22 feet of water during last summer’s flood.


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