Funding finally cleared for UI flood recovery projects - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Funding finally cleared for UI flood recovery projects

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Flood recovery at the University of Iowa will move forward. It's estimated that the rebuilding of three buildings on campus will cost about $420-million and FEMA will cover nearly $270-million of the bill.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved FEMA's decision to replace the university's Hancher/Voxman/Clapp music buildings and Art Building East.

"What a great day," said Executive Director of Hancher Chuck Swanson.

Swanson said the building will be built on higher ground.

"It will be two feet above the 500-year flood plane level, so everybody feels pretty safe in terms of future flooding," said Swanson.

Swanson said the university will need to raise approximately $30-million to complete the projects. He did not know when construction would begin.

President of the University of Iowa Sally Mason issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"The students, faculty and staff of the University of Iowa are grateful for the strong and continuous support of our Congressional delegation, the Governor, and the Board of Regents.  This final action on our replacement buildings clears the way for construction – and we are ready.  Our students and campus can now move forward with certainty that they will have the facilities they need."

The decision for federal funding came after the Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General wanted to take back funding already approved for the project.  The office concluded in June the buildings should be repaired instead of replaced contradicting FEMA's determination to fund new construction on higher ground.

Wednesday's decision restores nearly $84 million in state and federal funds for the projects, and clears the way for construction on the new buildings.

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