Univ. of Iowa Peparing to Remove Flood Barriers

By Diane Heldt, Reporters

Workers continue to build a HESCO barrier flood wall in front of the Mayflower Residence Hall on the University of Iowa Campus a flood waters begin to rise Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Iowa City. (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - University of Iowa officials are making plans to remove flood protection barriers on campus and reopen campus buildings that were closed due to the flooding threat several weeks ago.

Because water levels at Coralville Lake and the Iowa River have remained stable in recent weeks, UI officials are planning to dismantle the seven miles of HESCO barriers and other temporary floodwalls that were erected on campus, officials said Friday.

Removal of the barriers, including the wall installed around Art Building West, could start early next week, though some details still are being worked out, officials said. Work also will be done to repair any damage to sidewalks and landscaping, officials said.

UI leaders have said they expect the cost of establishing and removing flood protection this spring will be more than $5 million.

"With continued positive news regarding pool elevation levels at the Coralville Reservoir and the flow of the Iowa River, on-campus flooding risks are at a level that allows for planning and preparation to remove the barriers put into place to protect the campus at the beginning 0f June," Rod Lehnertz, director of campus planning, design and construction, said in a statement.

Buildings that were evacuated in late May and early June due to the flood risk -- including Art Building West, the Theater Building, the former Museum of Art that is being used by the School of Music and Mayflower Residence Hall -- will be reopened as soon as possible so the facilities can be readied for the fall semester, officials said.

University officials will continue to monitor Coralville Lake and river levels during the process.

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