Storms cause construction of North Liberty business to partially collapse

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Stormy weather Wednesday night caused a building under construction to collapse in North Liberty.

It will eventually be home to Diventures, a business that teaches SCUBA and snorkeling, and sells the equipment for those activities. The business' new facility is going up at 1895 W. Penn St.

Construction crews with Estes Construction said they hope the delay will only be a month, but to those with Diventures and the workers on site, the opening is secondary; the most important thing was that no one was hurt.

Now, construction crews will shift their focus to rebuilding and avoiding it from happening again.

Clint Hoeger, the DIrector of Field Operations for Estes Construction, said there was no warning for the workers at the future home of the North Liberty business. There was only a cloud coming closer to their construction site.

"We had contractors setting the Styrofoam panels, and they noticed that storm cloud was moving pretty quickly towards them," Hoeger said. "And they got down and out and out of the way."

In only a half hour around 6:15-6:45 p.m., nearly 50 mile per hour winds collapsed walls at the future home of Diventures. The two workers on site moved quickly to get to shelter.

"Everyone needs to be safe on the job site- that's the most important thing," Hoeger said.

Diventures is moving from their smaller home into the much larger facility. After the damage Wednesday, it will push the move-in date back.

"At this point, we don't really know- we're starting to get some ideas about what the impact looks like, but we don't really know just yet," said LeAnn Haack, the Retail Program Director for Diventures.

Construction crews think it could set them back about a month- and to see a quick storm produce this much damage is surprising.

"It has withstood winds in the past," Hoeger said. "This is just an anomaly that happened yesterday that we could not prevent.">

But the setback does not have staff at Diventures discouraged- they are staying optimistic for their future opening, regardless of the delay.

"We've been looking forward to this for a while now, so a small delay is not going to hurt our energy at all- we've been excited to be a part of the North Liberty community," Haack said.

Hoeger said they still expect to have the project completed by the end of the year, and could start to get back to work in the coming days.