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Board of Regents OKs UI Art Museum Site Search

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- The Board of Regents approved a development project at the University of Iowa on Wednesday that would allow the school to study new sites to bring its fine arts museum back to campus.

Currently, Hesco barriers block the view of the old art museum; it was destroyed in the flood of 2008 and could not be reinstated because of a lack of FEMA funding. 

But now, UI has the go-ahead to pursue a private-public partnership to resurrect the museum. The goal is to bring the collection home, "in a location where students can benefit daily and easily," said Senior Vice President Doug True. 

Being able to move forward on projects that the university has wanted to pursue since the 2008 floods, rather than just talking about them, has been a long time coming, said Mason. 

"The fact that most of our flood renewal projects now are on the consent agenda and we're not discussing them openly in every meeting, really is the first time in five years that we're not having to do that," she said. 

The university wants to move the museum out of the flood plane, and will investigate locations outside of the arts campus. The school will spend $2.5 million to renovate and repurpose the former museum building for another use. 

This, as UI President Sally Mason reported to the board on the success of the $5 million flood prevention plan implemented by the university this week and last.

"Now, what this plan really did for us was put in perspective the lessons that were learned in 2008," Mason said, addressing the board.

That plan helped to limit the damage to flood-prone areas like the Pappajohn Medical Discovery Building and the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratory, Mason said.

The university is hoping to make those areas more flood proof on their own, and the board approved a series of FEMA-approved projects on Wednesday afternoon to do just that. 


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