UI Official: 'We are Remaining Careful Rather Than Sorry'

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

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By Forrest Saunders

IOWA CITY, Iowa - University of Iowa officials and some Iowa City residents are figuring it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to flood preparations.

After a weekend’s worth of heavy rain, more is forecasted for later this week. That has '08 flood victim Bradley Kaldahl looking at the Iowa River with uneasy eyes. "Very nervous, always nervous," said Bradley Kaldahl.

Five years ago, the river put four to five feet of water inside the living room of his home on Normandy Drive. Since then, he's raised the property up 10 feet. He says he’s taking no chances if things get wetter.

"If the rain keeps coming and if the predictions look bleak, then it's time for Two Men and a Truck," said Kaldahl.

UI Senior and RA Briana Jimmerson is moving out of her Mayflower dorm room. "This is like a lot of my desk stuff, random little odds and ends," she said pointing to large box in her room.

She's not finished with school. She’s leaving because she has to, a mandated evacuation. "I've only been here for a week. It's weird. It's a weird experience," said Jimmerson.

Water worries have the university clearing out all 84 residents from Mayflower, by Thursday. They're being placed at other dorms on campus, far away from flood prone Dubuque Street.

"Once the Coralville Reservoir has output at a certain level Dubuque Street will be flooded and therefore access to the building will be cut off," said UI Director of Residence Life Kate Fitzgerald.

Staff is also moving furniture and supplies from the first floor to the second. Outside, flood barriers are being setup at Mayflower and at least two other campus buildings, Art Building West and the UI’s water treatment plant.

The university says they're being proactive.

"We are remaining careful rather than sorry in our projections, so that we can make sure we're doing everything we can do now to best protect the campus," said UI Director of Planning Design and Construction Rod Lehnertz.

Lehnertz says they're monitoring the Iowa River and will take more flood protection measures if they're needed. For now, all campus operations are continuing as scheduled.

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