A University of Iowa official told the state Board of Regents Wednesday, the effort continues to find a new site for the school’s flooded performance hall. U-I senior vice president of finance, Doug True, says they’ve already had one public forum on the future of Hancher Auditorium.
True says a lot of people spoke their mind at the forum and they are going to hold more forums, and there are also efforts on campus discussing the issue of where to put the facilities. "So a great deal of intellectual energy is gonna be spent over the next very few months on this subject," True says. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s declared that Hancher and the other buildings on the university’s "arts campus" had to be rebuilt on higher ground.
True says they will be holding more public sessions where they give out information, and listen to the public. He says two more are planned and they may need more. True says they have not deadline on the issue because they need to be sure it is done well. True says: "We have no deadline ’cause we need to just make sure this is done well, whatever length of time that takes. Although time is important because the people who’re not enjoying Hancher, or are in temporary facilities for music are desperate to get back to a home."
True says they have worked well with FEMA in getting Hancher replaced. He says the political and administrative leadership of FEMA have the message that this is important to the university. True says there has been a problem with turnover, including three different leaders of FEMA, but he says they’ve have been accommodating.
True says the biggest obstacle is understanding the FEMA rules. "Their rules are in some cases very difficult, they’re very complicated, they’re not intuitive in all cases," True says. True says in some cases they have to work through the process to determine it is not going to work before they can go on to another process to try and move the project forward.
Sites in Iowa City that are at least 14 feet above the 2008 Iowa River flood levels are being considered for rebuilding the facility. FEMA has pledged to pay for 90 percent of the costs of rebuilding Hancher on the new site.