Nov 182010
Authors: Justin Rampy

Since the disastrous Spring Creek flood of 1997, the city of Fort Collins and CSU have undergone major flood prevention projects to ensure buildings and people on campus are protected from future flash floods.

According to Fred Haberecht, assistant director of facilities management for CSU, there were two phases of the Master Storm Drainage Mitigation project.

Phase one of the project was aimed at the lagoon basin buildings, which include the Lory Student Center and Morgan Library. Floodwalls were erected to divert storm water away from the buildings and through campus to storm drains rather than entering those buildings’ basements.

Phase two was directed toward the oval basin, which includes the buildings around the CSU Oval. Similar floodwalls were constructed to protect buildings like Johnson Hall and the field house.

These projects were completed in the spring of 2002 and had an estimated cost of more than $1 million, according to Haberecht. The Federal Emergency Management Agency helped pay for part of these renovations as well.

Other detention projects lowered the fields on the West Lawn to detain water coming from the west before it gets to any of the main academic buildings on the east side of campus.

In addition to the projects that took place on campus, Fort Collins also underwent several projects. To hold water upstream before it gets to CSU’s campus, the Canal Importation Ponds and Outfall project was constructed.

Matt Fater, the special projects manager for Fort Collins Utilities, specified that the project focuses around enlarging flood detention basins such as Plum Detention Basin, Avery Pond, Fairbrooke Detention Basin and Red Fox Meadows Detention Basin. These detention centers occupy an estimated 43 acres.

All the upstream detention centers are designed to lower the ground to create a basin and retain storm water as it comes down from the foothills before it gets to the city or campus.

“Also, the project includes the installation of over 4,500 feet of concrete storm sewer ranging in size from 78 inches in diameter to 102 inches in diameter,” Fater said.

There are also projects downstream designed to get water off campus as quickly as possible. The Locust Street Outfall project is the main renovation program for diverting water off campus and into the Poudre River.

The project installed a main sewer pipe running down Locust Street that runs parallel to Laurel Street, said Haberecht.

Haberecht also said all these projects were designed to keep the city, but more specifically the campus, protected from major flood damage.

Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at

Flood renovation projects

  • Master Storm Drainage Mitigation project: To divert storm water away from at risk buildings on campus
  • The Canal Importation Ponds and Outfall project: To detain storm water before it gets to the city and release it slowly as to not overflow storm drains
  • The Locust Street Outfall project: To carry water away from storm drains on campus to the Poudre River

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