Oct. 21, 2010

Flood-damaged facilities set to re-open; restoration work will continue

by Anne Krapfl

Ten Wednesdays ago, parts of campus were swamped with either flood or rain water. This week, university leaders say we're on schedule to reopen most of the facilities that sustained the most damage. The Lied Center and the Family Resource Center in University Village are partially open; Hilton Coliseum and the Scheman Building each will be used for the first time in the next two weeks, said associate vice president for facilities Dave Miller.

By the end of this week, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) representatives will have visited 90 percent of Iowa State's 99 storm or water-damaged sites -- including buildings, parking lots, farms and athletic fields.

"We're asking lots of questions to better understand the regulations, and they're being very helpful, very supportive," said Pam Elliot Cain, associate vice president for business and finance and chair of the university's 12-member Disaster Recovery Coordinating Team. She said that, when they can, committee members combine restoration and mitigation requests to expedite the process. The FEMA representatives have been receptive to that, she said.

The FEMA team assigned to Iowa State likely will be working in Ames into December, Cain said.

ISU officials continue to refer to a range of $40 million to $50 million in total damages, although a complex layering of insurance coverage and an anticipated 75-25 percent cost share between FEMA and the university should whittle down the final price tag. Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden will provide a flood update to the state Board of Regents next week (Oct. 28).

Following is an update of progress made since mid-August:

Flood-damaged facilities

The Cyclone women's basketball team's first exhibition game is scheduled for Nov. 4, and Miller said Hilton will be "game day ready." The new wood floor is being installed this week and at least part of the scoreboard system in the building will be operational. Teams will use temporary, relocated locker rooms; work on reconstructing the four permanent locker rooms and restoring full electrical service will continue into spring semester.

In a letter this week to basketball ticket holders, athletics director Jamie Pollard also noted that the game-day ticket office and will-call window has been permanently relocated from underneath the exterior south stairs to the lower level of the "pod" addition on the southwest corner of Hilton. Miller said this location will have an exterior door and be fully accessible. Pollard also wrote that new seats for the arena circle sections (rows 1-5) will arrive after Jan. 1, 2011.

Pollard wrote that the men's basketball team's Nov. 5 exhibition game is scheduled for Hilton, the volleyball team likely will return to Hilton on Nov. 6 for its match with Missouri, and the wrestling squad is set to compete against Boston University on Nov. 11, also in Hilton.

Lied Recreation Center
Facilities in Lied are open again except for the climbing wall, racquetball courts and saunas. A project to replace the turf area on the main floor is being bid; Miller said the goal is to have that project completed in time for the first home meet of the Cyclones' indoor track season on Dec. 10. The track itself also was damaged. It is being repaired for the indoor season and will be replaced after the season ends.

Scheman Building
Reconstruction work in Scheman is well under way, Miller said, and the building will reopen Oct. 30. Plans still are being considered for changed uses of the first floor space -- for example, meeting space vs. employee offices -- that would minimize losses in any future flooding. University Museums has a separate air handling system from the rest of the building and generators have kept that system operational since Aug. 12. He said environmental air tests are done regularly in the museums' space to ensure the collection is protected.

University Village
Contractors doing repairs to 27 apartments in University Village expect to wrap up their work next week, with the apartments ready for occupancy on Nov. 1. Restoration work in the Family Resource Center on Bruner Drive is 75 percent complete, Miller said, and employees have returned to the building. University Community Childcare, temporarily relocated to the Collegiate United Methodist Church on Lincoln Way, is scheduled to return on Nov. 15.

Veenker golf course
Following about five weeks of offering a 9-hole round of golf on nonconsecutive holes, Veenker staff opened all 18 holes on Sept. 29. The course has been reseeded and play could continue into mid-November, weather allowing, said clubhouse manager Tess Balsley. The maintenance building was heavily damaged, but still is being used, pending a decision from FEMA on whether it should be replaced.

She said a contracted tree service wrapped up its work last week to remove trees damaged in the July 18 windstorm. Balsley said that in the end, "upward of 200" trees either were pushed over during the storm or damaged so extensively that they had to be removed. She said they hope to replant some of those lost.

Storm water-damaged buildings

In addition to campus facilities inundated with floodwater, 42 buildings -- most on central campus -- sustained some type of damage from storm water on Aug. 11, Aug. 31 or both, Miller said. Employees and students are making do in those buildings, he said, until the damaged areas are repaired. Typically, the water came up through floor drains or seeped in through doors or windows. In about half of the locations, eliminating the excess water and cleaning carpets or removing mold was all that was required. The other cases are in various stages of repair: design, bid, contractors on site, or completed.

Horticulture Hall (6 inches of water in the lower level) and Hamilton Hall (4 inches) sustained some of the worst damage. Other buildings with water damage include Lagomarcino Hall and the General Services and Student Services buildings.