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University of Iowa Spent $3.4 Million (and Counting) to Preserve Vacant Hancher Complex Destined for Demo

University of Iowa officials say they have spent millions to maintain Hancher, which has been planned for demolition for several years, due to federal "direction and requirements."

One of the tragic losses of the June 2008 flood was University of Iowa's beloved Hancher Auditorium.

Shortly after the historic flood caused an estimated $1 billion in damages to campus, university officials announced the complex was forever destroyed. It would come down and they would rebuild anew with the promise of federal disaster aid.

What comes next will leave many people scratching their heads.

Because of federal "direction and requirements," UI officials have continued to heat, dehumidify and maintain a vacant building destined for demolition while awaiting the signal to take it down.

Just this week, officials announced it had finally received the green light in the form of $6.7 million from Federal Emergency Management Agency to demolish the Hancher-Voxman-Clapp complex, along with Art Building East, likely later this year. 

From mid-2008 to the present, the university has spent $3.4 million -- and counting, due to continuing dehumidification -- to preserve the empty Hancher building. Nearly all of that will be reimbursed to the university through FEMA, UI spokesman Tom Moore said.

What do you think? Tell us in comments below.

David Drake May 03, 2012 at 01:06 PM
The university did NOT have a choice in this matter -- it is all determined by FEMA.
B.A. Morelli May 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM
@David Drake. Last I remember, Hancher-Voxman-Clapp (and the Art Building) were eligible for a 90 percent match for replacement costs through FEMA. It makes sense why the University would want risk losing that. But, who likes knowing their tax money is going to heat/cool an empty building planned for demo, whether it's a state or federal choice?
B.A. Morelli May 03, 2012 at 01:49 PM
That should be: makes sense why university wouldN'T want to risk losing the FEMA money.
steve laszczak May 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Regardless of what is happening; let us hope that the next buildings have all what we require in a theatre/music venue. And any shortcomings that existed before are eliminated; unless the bean counters get in the way; by the way its only money!!!!
Maria Houser Conzemius May 10, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I wonder if FEMA required the University of Iowa to preserve the UI buildings on track to be demolished.

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