New Frederiksen Court parking lot plans against future floods


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s landscape architecture studio came up with a storm water management plan, which will be implemented in the parking lots that are being built for the new buildings of Fredrickson Court. Construction for the lot is underway with machinery flattening out the space in order to be able to pour concrete.

Brian Day

Work has begun recently to convert the pasture on the east side of Haber Road into a 500-space parking lot for the 720 new Frederiksen Court residents.

The rapid increase of students and student apartments at Iowa State has warranted the need for more parking at ISU facilities.

During the last major flood in 2010, the majority of the pasture where the parking lot is being built was under water. However, with the integration of the storm water management system, Huss does not envision the flooding of the new lot to be a problem in the future.

“That’s why we’re excavating the dirt for the storm water control,” said Mark Huss, assistant director for Facilities Planning and Management. “We’re using that dirt to build up the pad for the parking lot and building the elevation up high enough so it won’t get flooded.”

The new storm water management system aims to reroute all of the storm water drainage into underground basins. These basins provide contaminant filtration and opportunities for infiltration into the underground aquifers.

“That’s the whole idea with storm water control,” Huss said. “Let’s control it, slow it down and infiltrate it as much as possible so that it’s not just being dumped into all of our creeks and rivers.”

ISU students who were enrolled in an ecological design course back in 2005 began to take interest in the drainage problem and decided to write a report to provide possible solutions to the problem.

Led by Mimi Wagner, associate professor of landscape architecture, the students proposed a new plan that would control storm water drainage and prevent the erosion of Brookside Park and Squaw Creek.

After sitting in on the students’ final presentation of the storm water management project, Cathy Brown, campus landscape architect for Facilities Planning and Management, became very intrigued by the project. The project, however, could not be finished until there was appropriate funding. 

Brown asked Wagner to present the project idea to the ISU President’s Council. The President’s Council immediately became interested in the project as well.

After a few years, the funding for the project became available, and they began interviewing consultants to determine the feasibility of the project and the projected design.

“It’s an amazing example and a very powerful example for students today to see that their predecessors had these ideas that were very well done, that were honestly considered by staff and faculty, funded to be developed into real plans, and then literally being constructed,” Wagner said. “And that doesn’t happen in our world very often.”

The anticipated completion date for the $1.25 million parking lot project is Nov. 1.