University sorts out flooding costs, continues cleanup efforts

Paige Godden

Iowa State’s previously reported contribution to flooding costs was oversimplified.

Iowa State was expected to pay 25 percent of up to $50 million after summer flooding, said Warren Madden, vice president of business and finance, at the Board of Regents’ Sept. 16 meeting.

“Whether that will be a close estimate, it’s too early to tell,” Madden said.

Madden said the estimate didn’t include volunteer efforts and that hopefully the amount will be less than 25 percent.

Damages to state property allows the university to apply for state appropriations.

The Department of Residence will pay for damages to Schilletter University Village apartments because it’s not a general fund facility.

Madden said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will help cover damages that happened between June 1 and Aug. 31.

He said the university now has 99 sites that were affected by some kind of flood damage, and FEMA has a long, detailed process to go through.

Madden said more than 200 trees were knocked down, and FEMA has been out on Veenker Memorial Golf Course marking each fallen tree using GPS.

He also said some of the damages from the storm are top priorities, and some projects like Hilton Coliseum have been fast-tracked.

Although it’s expected Hilton will be open by Nov. 4, in time for the first basketball game, he said the track at Lied Recreation Athletic Center wouldn’t be ready in time for the indoor track season, so it’s being temporarily patched and glued back down.

Madden said Recreation Services manages Lied, and the building is insured.

The ISU athletic department rents the space for about four hours a day, and if the university isn’t fully reimbursed for the track, the department will probably be responsible for its fair share, Madden said.

He didn’t say if the track is expected to be fully covered by insurance, or who will be primarily responsible for the repairs and new basketball floor at Hilton.

“Our goal is to get things repaired in three pieces,” Madden said.

The first goal is substantially done, getting areas clean, safe and dry, Madden said.

Contracts with cleanup crews are being reimbursed after the crews submit receipts, and Madden said so far some bills have been submitted, with billing to date reaching several million dollars.

The process is being reviewed by FEMA, but Madden wouldn’t say how the university is expecting to pay for its share of the damages.

The second and third steps will be repairing and mitigation.

The university and the city of Ames have been discussing broader mitigation efforts, including managing river flows from Squaw Creek and the South Skunk River, Madden said.

Madden said a task force for mitigation efforts has been started, but it could take a year or so to complete its efforts.

In the Scheman Building and Hilton, some simple mitigation steps can be taken such as reinforcing door frames and using thicker glass, but Lied could be a bit of a problem because the water crept up through the floor, which is why the track bubbled, Madden said.

He said all of the studies haven’t been completed, but “all of the buildings can stay where they are.”