Flood recovery underway for Recreation Services

Cleanup crews help remove the mud from the parking lots on Friday, Aug. 13 at Lied Recreation Athletic Center. Director of Recreational Services Mike Giles is trying to stay positive throughout the cleaning process and will be working with the university to communicate with insurance adjusters.

Jake Lovett

Numerous workers were inside Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Wednesday, Aug. 15, cleaning up floodwaters and other damage caused by recent flooding.

Mike Giles, director of Recreation Services since June 1, and crews from ServiceMaster have been working since Tuesday, Aug. 14 recovering from the estimated 18-24 inches of water that were inside the building.

“Pretty much, the entire first floor has been compromised,” Giles said.

Giles said all of the wooden racquetball courts and carpeting in Recreation Services offices have all been destroyed and will need replacing.

“At some point, those will have to come out and go back in,” Giles said.

Nearly all of the equipment storage areas on the first floor will likely need repaired or replaced in the coming weeks, as well.

The first-floor turf has also been removed and must be replaced while the track will be repaired for use by the ISU track and field teams this spring and be evaluated further following the season.

“We’ve lost little things to big things,” Giles said. “It’s not really a matter at this point to be able to pinpoint specifics.”

Giles said that all sandbagging efforts done at Lied were “completely ineffective,” as some areas outside the building had water levels well above the height of the sandbags.

There was damage to the roll-up door going onto the track, as water got behind the sandbags and pressure on the door “basically pushed the door in.”

Giles said he thought the damage to the door was the main breach into the building, but also indicated there was water “bubbling up” from the sub-structure of the building and said they couldn’t be sure of the main source of the breach.

“It wasn’t just a matter of the water coming, it was coming from all around,” Giles said.

Recreation Service staff members were first inside the building between 7 and 8 p.m. on the night of Friday, Aug. 11, when flooding initially occured, and service crews began cleanup the following morning.

Crews opened doors to the building and allowed water to flow out Aug. 12, meaning there has been no pumping of water as has been done at Hilton Coliseum.

Lied once again opened to students Monday, Aug. 16, but access was limited to the third floor and first- and second-floor restrooms. There will be no access to either the third- or first-floor tracks, the climbing wall, racquetball courts or locker rooms until further notice.

Giles said Recreation Services first must evaluate safety of students — i.e., mold and bacteria in the building — before giving students access to the those areas.

Giles said Beyer Hall received no damage in the storm and was opened again Monday.

Further extensive damage was suffered on the outdoor intramural fields, such as the ones next to Maple-Willow-Larch residence halls and the southwest fields near Jack Trice Stadium.

The southwest fields were what Giles described as “debris fields,” as the areas not submerged in water were littered with portable toilets and other debris that drifted to the fields.

Recreation Services has begun working with the university on insurance claims to help finance repair and recovery for damaged facilities.

Giles said the department would begin meeting with adjusters to determine the extent of the damage.

— Despite all of the rainfall, construction is still ongoing at State Gym.

Giles said there have been delays on the site due to the high amounts of rainfall in Ames this summer, but the project is still on track to be completed in early fall 2011.

The State Gym project is entirely independent from flood recovery efforts, so there should be no delays caused at State Gym.

“Without any type of major catastrophe that we have no control over, I see no initial impact on the continuation of construction,” Giles said.

— The ISU soccer and track and field squads have been affected by the damages to the first floor of Lied.

The track team primarily uses the indoor track for practices during the winter, but does also conduct some practices inside during the warmer summer months.

Both the soccer and track squads use first-floor locker rooms, but since have had to make other arrangements.