BRTC receives grant for flood mitigation project

BRTC receives grant for flood mitigation project

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - After enduring multiple floods in the past few years, Black River Technical College has received a $1.2 million grant to keep the waters from rising on campus.

According to a Thursday news release, the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) notified BRTC that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had approved its grant request.

BRTC said it will use the $1,235,737.76 grant “to construct a system of earthen berms, masonry wall, sump, and discharge pipes around the perimeter of the main campus at Pocahontas.”

This was after the college faced over $7 million in damages from recent floods.

“When the river starts getting high, we start getting a little nervous,” Rhonda Stone, Vice President of Finance and Administration said. “Both times we had more than 10 buildings affected and [the floods] displaced our students.”

With the college not involved in the city or county’s flood plans, BRTC had to come up with the plan on their own.

Now, after receiving the grant from ADEM through FEMA, they’re able to begin work with the hope of mitigating potential future floods.

“We’re very pleased to be able to do this to protect the campus,” Stone said. “We’re excited about the process and hopefully we’ll be able to get underway in March.”

The college is currently advertising for bids on the BRTC Berm Project with a bid opening set for Feb. 5. It will hold a pre-bid meeting on Jan. 26. Administrators hope to begin construction on the project in March, with the hope of being completed by Fall 2021.

The total cost is estimated at $1,621,905.81.

“It’s just a win-win for everybody so I’m proud to see that they got the grant for flood protection,” Randolph County Judge David Jansen said.

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