Flood Preparations

Mar 8th, 2010 @ 4:02 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU President
Summer is just around the corner. Those are pleasant words to hear, but we all know the reality of what awaits us during the next 4-6 weeks. With much conversation currently ongoing regarding potential flooding conditions in Valley City and throughout the region, I thought this a good time to provide an update on VCSU's readiness.

First, we all realize there are many unknowns during the next month that will determine if we have a significant flood: How much additional snow will we have? Will we receive early spring rains? How quickly will our snow melt? These and other issues are all factors that will go a long way in determining this spring's flood. Last year, this community successfully faced the historic levels of the Sheyenne River. No doubt, there were many sleepless nights, difficult circumstances, long days, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. However, we also know as a community that we will succeed again if faced with similar conditions in 2010.

The students at VCSU were a major force in last spring's flood fight – volunteering thousands of hours at Sandbag Central, building sandbag levees throughout the community, and volunteering in many other ways. When our students were asked to help, they responded in force time and again. We have been in contact with City and County officials already this Spring, and are preparing for the weeks ahead. Our students will be there again in 2010 if and when called upon. Simply put, we have great students at VCSU, and any university in the nation would love to have the character and quality of students such as those here at VCSU. Of course, I am only writing about this campus, but we know the same is true of our local high school students and other students as well as all citizens across our region. When called upon, people of this region heed the call!

A major improvement made during the past year at VCSU was the re-location of our Information Technology Data Center. The Center was moved from the first floor (ground level) of the Rhoades Science Center up to the second floor. This move ensures uninterrupted service of IT services for students, faculty, and staff should any situation such as last year be encountered again. In 2009, VCSU was forced to hurriedly dismantle our IT services and re-build them in a temporary location at the Regional Technology Center. The RTC was a fantastic location, but this move disrupted service for several days, required significant personnel time and labor, and had some major costs. All of that can be avoided in future flood situations thanks to the improvements made in Summer 2009.

VCSU has invested in new technologies and implemented their availability to our faculty for teaching students. These technologies assist in utilizing new modes for teaching and delivering curriculum to students at VCSU, and can also be of great assistance should a closure of the physical campus ever be necessary again. Technology was invaluable in Spring 2009 as we completed the final weeks of the semester at a distance. In the past year we have strengthened these capabilities and our faculty have further trained to enhance their skills with these exciting technologies.

Another improvement was made in the VCSU Library. Because a large portion of the collection housed in the lower level of Allen Memorial Library needed to be re-located to a higher level last year, decisions were made to replace many physical items with electronic access to the same information. Although items still remain on the lower level of the library, the number has been reduced. Again, these changes will serve us well for future flood possibilities.

We will collectively keep our fingers crossed during the next few weeks, but it is very reassuring to know we have faced these circumstances in the past and succeeded. The changes made at VCSU during the past year will serve us well should we face another flood in 2010.