A University of Iowa spokesman says FEMA’s freezing of previously approved federal funds following Hurricane Irene will not impact a major flood rebuilding project on campus. U-I spokesman Tom Moore says they are moving ahead with the replacement of Hancher Auditorium, which was damaged in the 2008 flooding.
He says they are still in the planning process and are working with architects and the project is still on track to be completed as scheduled. Moore says the FEMA plan to freeze funds did raise a concern.
“We have had discussions from FEMA and have received indications from them that they intend to honor their commitment to the university,” Moore said. Hancher and the music building were both flooded and are being moved to a new location.
Iowa Emergency Management Division spokesperson, John Benson, says projects like those at the U-I may see the checks from Washington coming a little slower than in the past. Benson says the freeze delays the funding, but if the projects have funding already obligated to them, the funding won’t disappear.
Benson says the cities or other entities could pay for the project and get reimbursed. He says that is an option available, and he says the larger projects will see the most impact, as they reimburse those projects as they get done. Benson says the projects where the work has begun are ready to start may have contract payments due and they may not have the federal money yet to give them for the contract payments.