St. Ambrose updates include storm water project

A new plunge pool, front, is part of the completed storm water project on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport. Finishing touches — painting parking spaces in the Cosgrove parking lot — were completed last month.

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — Work on the $1.8 million storm water management project to prevent flooding on the St. Ambrose University campus and along Locust Street is finishing up. It was the biggest project undertaken at the university during summer break.

Work began May 16 and finishing touches are expected to be done in September. St. Ambrose workers completed the painting of Cosgrove parking lot and laying sod about two weeks ago. Despite a wet spring and hot summer the project was not delayed, said Jim Hannon, physical plant director for St. Ambrose.

To rectify a persistent flooding problem, the Cosgrove lot was removed and 9,000 feet of 48-inch perforated pipe was placed in rock; then the lot was resurfaced for parking. Porous concrete areas and storm water grates allow water in the lot to flow underground to the pipe, and then be released slowly over time.


A plunge pool was added behind some campus buildings to retain extra water in the event of a large storm, Hannon said. That water would discharge at a slower rate through small pipes.

The city of Davenport was finishing work along Locust Street recently. In addition, the city completed a separate project connected with the college — adding a traffic control crosswalk at Locust and Scott streets. Larger sidewalks are being installed as well, Hannon noted.

Throughout the campus more work has been completed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. As sidewalks were taken out for the storm water project, more ramps were added.

Typical maintenance in the dorms and in several university-owned homes also was completed over the summer. And work has been done on the Brady Street sports complex, often referred to as the Brady Street bubble, to ensure that it meets city code requirements. Pur­chase of the parking lot attached to the bubble has been completed. The bubble is used when weather outside is not suitable for sports practices.

St. Ambrose also received approval to proceed with construction of new parking lots at the St. Vincent Center north of campus and a new dormitory at Lombard and Harrison streets. Parking at St. Vincent Center, several blocks from the main campus, will include about 108 slots with bioswales for water retention. Students who rarely use their cars will be encouraged to park at St. Vincent’s, Hannon said. “It will be free to park there and there will be an on-demand shuttle service.”

Hannon hopes work will begin on the new dorm this month with opening in the fall of 2012. It will have 204 beds with a combination of traditional suites and apartment-style living. It’s being referred to as north hall since it does not have a name yet.

Heavy rains test storm water project

DAVENPORT — The new $1.8 million storm water project on the St. Ambrose University campus and along Locust Street was put to the test Aug. 23 when heavy rains inundated the Quad-City metro area.

Jim Hannon, physical plant director at St. Ambrose, said 2.27 inches of rain fell that morning, which is equivalent to a “two-year storm event.”

Cosgrove parking lot, which previously flooded in heavy rains, stayed flood free and “Lake Ambrose” didn’t make an appearance.

Hannon said before the university developed storm water management plans, a six-month storm event would cause flooding. As the university added underground storage tanks and other measures over the years throughout the campus, the problem was lessened, but flooding still occurred.

“If this storm happened a year ago, the lot would have been flooded.”

Hannon said that morning the physical plant department had planned to lay sod on campus as part of final steps related to the project. Workers watched weather radar and decided to hold off. They watched the parking lot and were glad to see the project was a success. “There were a lot of skeptical people out there. This proved it works,” Hannon said.

Over the next three weeks the university and City of Davenport will finish landscaping and other final touches. This includes a fence along Locust Street and six maple trees to be put in planters along that street.

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