Feb. 10, 2011

Estimates on summer flood, wind damage are coming down

by Anne Krapfl

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden provided another update to the state Board of Regents Feb. 3 on reconstruction and mitigation efforts following flooding on campus in August and a damaging windstorm in July. Madden said FEMA officials have completed their on-campus assessment of damages and approved 58 project worksheets for reimbursable renovation work at 117 different sites. Mitigation strategies for a few buildings still are being investigated, he said. He anticipates that planning process to wrap up by early May.

Madden said university officials' estimate of total damages to buildings still isn't final, but will be lower than $40 million -- and perhaps closer to $30 million, not the initial $50 million estimate. Iowa State will apply for, and hopes to secure some funding through, a FEMA competitive grant program that provides funds for long-term mitigation projects.

Entrepreneurial alumni

University professor of economics Peter Orazem presented the results of an ISU alumni career survey (approximately 25,000 alums from the classes of 1986 to 2006), conducted by a team from his department that focused on entrepreneurship, job creation and factors that increase the probability of each. The research team received more than 5,400 valid responses in the 2008 survey. Among the findings:

  • 38 percent of alumni live in Iowa
  • 69 percent graduated in four years or less; 92 percent graduated in five years or less
  • Students with more specialized programs and fewer electives graduated in less time and found jobs as technicians and specialists
  • Students with broad academic programs and more elective courses were more entrepreneurial as alumni
  • Of the 19,442 businesses alumni started, 35 percent were in Iowa; another 25 percent were in Illinois or Minnesota
  • On average, 9.5 percent of the businesses were internet-based (for graduates after 1996, the rates rose to between 13 and 15 percent)
  • Nationally, two-thirds of new small businesses fold within six years; among ISU entrepreneurial alumni, 70 percent were still going after more than six years

More survey results are available online in two working papers (February 2009 and February 2010) developed by the team.

Project approvals

In other business, the board:

  • Gave final approval to replace the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system for the Laboratory Animal Resources central facility within the College of Veterinary Medicine building. It will be independent of the current system, which also serves offices and classrooms. The intent is to create high-quality lab animal space that can support more externally funded research. As proposed, 99 percent of the $4.4 million price tag will be covered by ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds via a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The office of the vice president for research and economic development will provide the rest.
  • Approved a revised budget (from $2.85 million to $3.63 million) for improvements to Willow residence hall that include a new fire suppression system, energy-efficient windows and repairs to exterior concrete panels. Residence improvement funds will cover this project.
  • Approved a 41-year lease between the university and the city of Ames' transit agency to develop an intermodal transportation facility on university property on Hayward Avenue south of Lincoln Way. The lease requires no payments.