State lawmakers were in Ames Tuesday touring flood damage buildings at Iowa State University and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are also in town to begin their damage assessment. State Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, quizzed I.S.U. vice president Warren Madden about who will end up paying the local match that FEMA requires.
“Does the university have reserves for that or are looking at a state appropriation,?” Quirmbach asked and Madden replied, “We’re not far enough along to know what will be needed.” The current presidential disaster declaration has the federal government paying 75% of the cost. Legislators went inside and stood looking down on the bare concrete floor of Hilton Coliseum.
Dave Miller who heads up facilities management at I.S.U. says restoring the floor is the easy part of getting Hilton ready for basketball. “We could rent a floor if that’s what it took to have the first basketball game. So what will be necessary, the first basketball game what do you have to have? Well, were gonna have at least two out of the six elevators have got to be running,” Miller explained.
Miller showed lawmakers where three feet of drywall has been removed in ground level offices, but reconstruction is some days off, at least until crews make mechanical repairs and restore electricity. “We’re not yet reconstructing the building, but we are in the process of making it clean, dry and safe,” Miller says.
Miller says recovery is moving faster than it did in the last major flood in 1993, and it looks like Hilton will be ready for the opening of the basketball season. Officials say unless there’s more rain, parking should be okay for the season opening football game Thursday, in spite of some still soggy grass parking lots.