FEMA unnecessarily planned to demolish and re-build a number of flood-damaged buildings at the University of Iowa said a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General.
After floods damaged the campus in 2008, FEMA used the “50 Percent Rule” to determine if the cost of repairing the buildings would be greater than half the cost of just replacing them. Determining repair costs were too high, the agency decided to rebuild the structures at an estimated cost of almost $300 million.
The IG found FEMA’s 50 Percent Rule was not designed to handle buildings as complex as the ones at U of I, and plans for replacement have been put on hold. But four years after the flood, the university still does not have its buildings, is paying for the use of temporary classrooms, and has already spent $16 million on plans to replace the structures.