VCSU is thankful for the collaboration and support we enjoy from the community, county and public schools, both in Valley City and the region.
I’m looking out the south window of my office while writing this column, and I see sunny skies; with 56-degree temperatures and no wind, it’s a seemingly picture-perfect day. Yet, just this morning, city crews were busily installing flood panels on the Viking Drive bridge west of the main campus. Many have indicated that the return to the nice temperatures is actually having a negative corollary impact on the rising lake and river levels, thus affecting our community and campus.
We are all incredibly thankful for the proactive work of the city in installing these flood panels, and it serves as an important reminder of the outstanding preventative measures that have been taken in our community to help mitigate potential flood damage to residences, businesses and the campus facilities.
The closing of Viking Drive, which will run through at least November 10, is a required piece of the flood protection plan. Nonetheless, it requires flexibility, cooperation and innovation on the part of the campus and community. The VCSU campus is effectively divided, east to west, by the Sheyenne River.
Programs, classes and events that occur in the buildings to the west — the Gaukler Family Wellness Center and the W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse — will continue. Some classes have been temporarily relocated to other parts of campus while students adjust their pedestrian and motor vehicle travel patterns to accommodate the necessary and important flood protection.
We thank the campus community for quickly adjusting to this change and the community of Valley City for being so efficient in installing the temporary panels which complete the flood protection at the Viking Bridge location. It certainly provides a sense of relief and confidence that measures can be taken to help avoid catastrophic loss in these types of situations.
It is our hope that the concern for rising river and lake waters will be resolved positively and that we have favorable spring conditions to mitigate future flooding issues. Please know that we — VCSU faculty, staff and students — stand ready to assist in the event we are called upon to help with these efforts. Thank you to Valley City workers and employees who are overseeing the protection of our city to the best of their abilities!