University of Iowa President Sally Mason is praising workers for the quick response to the latest flooding threat to the campus in Iowa City. Mason, in a meeting with reporters Thursday, said the speed with which temporary flood barriers were put in place should result in cost savings. The flood protection costs for this year are still being calculated.
Last year, the UI spent more than $3 million to prevent flood damage. Mason is hoping several permanent flood mitigation projects around campus will be completed by next summer. “So, if we go through another (flood), it would be the fourth flood in seven years, we would be far better prepared to handle it going forward on a permanent basis,” Mason said.
Last week, officials projected waters would exceed the Coralville Reservoir’s spillway this week. That has not happened and officials expect the level will continue to drop. University of Iowa officials placed 12-foot high HESCO barriers around Mayflower Residence Hall and four-foot high barriers along both banks of the Iowa River as a precaution.
One University of Iowa property that will be inspected soon is the Beckwith Boathouse, home to the UI Rowing Team. The $7 million facility was built in 2009 and is designed to withstand flooding. “So, we’ll see perhaps next week, as the water starts to go down…we’ll be able to get into that building and see exactly what’s happened in there and whether or not, if water has gotten in there, if it’s as easy to clean out as we think it should be,” Mason said.
The record flooding of 2008 caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the University of Iowa campus and resulted in the closing of several key buildings – including an art museum, Hancher Auditorium, and the Voxman Music Building.