Hilton Coliseum takes on water


Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

The Iowa State Center parking lot is covered by several feet of floodwater, with numerous portable toilets floating through the area.

Women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly was at Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday and witnessed a “sad” scene: the basketball and volleyball court rising with the floodwaters.

“It’s hard not to cry a little bit. A lot of people have worked really hard,” he said. “People changed offices, and there’s a lot of good things going on in that building.”

Fennelly said the usual eight-minute trip from his home to Hilton took an hour Wednesday morning. 

The water has risen to a height between 6 and 8 feet, likely destroying locker rooms and threatening to reach the basketball offices.

Because of the flooding, the volleyball team has moved practice to West Towne Courts, at 1005 Dickinson Ave.

Volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said she and her staff were also busy helping players find new dorms.

“It’s not pretty right now,” she said.

Fennelly talked to Johnson-Lynch and was unsure about what’s next for Hilton Coliseum.

“I’m sure that [the volleyball team] is going to have some long-term discussions,” he said. “I know today, when I was with Christy, they were trying to find some place to practice. I don’t know what they’ll do.”

Fennelly doesn’t think the flooding will affect the women’s basketball practice schedule.

“We don’t practice until October, so we have a little time,” he said. “But in the short term, your focus has to be just hoping that structurally the building is fine.”

Men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg was not able to get to Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday and doesn’t anticipate getting there later in the day due to road closures.

However, Hoiberg doesn’t believe the flooding will affect the men’s basketball team.

“With the new practice facility, we’ll be fine,” he said. “It shouldn’t affect us too much.”

Hoiberg was on the team after the flooding in 1993 and said things returned to normal fairly quickly.

“It had more of an effect on us because we didn’t have a practice facility back then,” he said.

Hoiberg doesn’t foresee any long-term damage that might prevent the team from playing there this season.

“I remember the last time, they made strides very quickly as far as getting everything back in order,” he said. “I’m confident they’ll do quick work and get Hilton back rolling here soon.”