Univ. of Iowa Officials Confident Plan Keeps Them Ahead of Floodwater

By Diane Heldt, Reporters

University of Iowa Facilities department employees build a HESCO barrier wall around the Iowa Advance Technology Laboratory as flood waters begin to rise Thursday, May 30, 2013 in the UI campus in Iowa City. (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Apart from the buildings that have been emptied and closed to prepare for the threat of flooding, it's business as usual at the University of Iowa, officials said Friday.

A 12-foot wall of HESCO barriers was completed Friday in front of Mayflower Residence Hall on N. Dubuque Street, and work continued on adding barriers around other campus buildings on the east and west sides of the Iowa River, with 5,000 linear feet of the barriers.

Water was up to the barrier wall in front of Mayflower Friday, but no water was inside the building, said Rod Lehnertz, UI director of planning, design and construction. Officials expect Beckwith Boathouse may take on floodwater, though it's designed to do so.

While Art Building West, Theatre Building and the former Museum of Art were emptied and shut down, officials hope they remain dry. The university had 22 buildings damaged in 2008.

"Our protection methods are intended to keep water out of all of those buildings," Lehnertz said.

UI officials are preparing for up to 24,000 cubic feet per second on the river through campus to be safe, he said.

"We are confident the plan that's been put in place is one step ahead of the waters that will come this way," Lehnertz said.

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