Flooding Impacts Facility Operations 10 Years Later

  July 6, 2018

By Dan Hounsell

The floodwaters that inundated the University of Iowa campus in 2008 changed a great many things, from structures and procedures to departments and people. By the numbers, the flooding affected more than 2.5 million square feet of building space, forced the evacuation and closing of 20 buildings, and resulted in $743 million in damage and recovery costs.

While the floodwaters might have receded, a decade on, their effects are still felt throughout the campus and beyond, according to a column in The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by Rod Lehnertz, the university’s senior vice president of finance and operations at the University of Iowa.

“On a sunny June 15, 2008, standing at the new water’s edge, and looking toward once-vibrant University of Iowa buildings now submerged and unapproachable, I never could have imagined we would be where we find ourselves now,” Lehnertz wrote. “We had no choice but to “pull up our bootstraps” and race into the water to get the campus back on its feet ahead of the largest class in UI history arriving only two months after the flood’s crest. No one had time to step back and worry that it couldn’t be done, or that we would not overcome the challenges to be faced during the next eight years.”

The aftermath of the flooding tested the university and its staff and students, he writes: “Recovery from the flood became a way of life and, for many of us, a most memorable decade of our careers. The result should make all of us proud. UI was transformed by its recovery and has become a model for understanding floods, and how to protect or recover from them, thanks in no small part to our very own Iowa Flood Center, collegiate and administrative leaders and hardworking units within finance and operations, including facilities management, business services, public safety, financial management and so many others.”

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and chief editor of Facilitiesnet.com.


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