School Renovation, Expansion Cause of Flooding, Nebraskans Say

Residents of a Lincoln, Nebraska, neighborhood have expressed frustration with flooding they blame on a public school’s renovation and expansion.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Lincoln Public Schools began a major renovation two years ago of a 1950s-era building that reopened last year as the Nuernberger Education Center, a program for middle school students with behavior problems. The $6.7 million project led to flooding in residential properties and several frustrated homeowners.

“I really wasn’t too worried about it at the same,” said homeowner Mason Adams of the first time he saw flooding in his yard. “But after it happened a few more times … ”

District officials told residents last year that the flooding would end when construction finished because of several design elements created to redirect water. But homeowners said it’s only been exacerbated.

“When (the LPS property) was all torn up and there was no grass and there was flooding early on … we said, ‘Be patient.’ It’s a good design and when it’s done the solution will work,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of operations for the district. “Obviously, it didn’t.”

Wieskamp said the district wants to find a solution.

“That’s going to be a process (for them) to regain our trust,” he said. “They want us to admit ownership and we’ve done that. I think we need to stay on top of it.”

Engineers hired by the district this spring recommended running a drain along the fence line of several residential properties to direct water to a pipe they would install under Adams’ backyard. Residents last week opposed the solution, saying officials should offer more than one option.

“I don’t think you know how close this neighborhood is,” said Krissy Divis, a mail carrier in the area. “Nobody here is going to let you come in and take Mason’s property.”

Residents want a solution that involves district property and not their own, but district officials said they worry that won’t solve the flooding.

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