POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - Black River Technical College has seen multiple floods over the years costing millions of dollars in repairs and now officials are working on a flood mitigation plan to help prepare the college for future flooding.
The college has been working with engineers, local and state officials and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management to come up with a plan.
The plan is predicted to cost $1.3 million and will be undergone over a large span of time.
The school plans to have a levee system built around the campus with drainage areas to pump water out. In addition, water barriers will be placed across roadways.
Through the collaboration, the FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program was found. BRTC believes they could qualify for grant money from FEMA.
BRTC President Martin Eggensperger says this plan will help prevent future flooding on campus.
“A million dollars seems like a lot of money but for what they get out of it and what they’ve done, I think it going to be an amazing, amazing mitigation system,” Eggensperger says. “We’re going to be really fortunate to have done this.”
If the college isn’t awarded the FEMA grant, they’re looking at another proposal to help with funding.
A deferred maintenance fee will require students at BRTC to have an added $11 per credit hour to their tuition fees.
This would cost about $150 per student. Eggensperger says the tuition costs are minimal right now but this money will be used as an infrastructure fee to keep buildings updated and deemed safe.
“Hopefully a modest fee now will cover not having to do something really big in the future,” he says.
A board of trustees meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7 will discuss more on the flood mitigation update and the proposal for the deferred maintenance fee.
This meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.