If you've been to Nicolet High School this summer or seen it from the highway, you're probably wondering: What the heck is going on?
Yes, it’s more than a simple parking lot repaving. The answer: flood abatement.
The three-year anniversary of the devastating flood at Nicolet was July 22. The 2010 flood caused about $13 million in damage when, in only two hours, seven inches of rain turned into seven feet of water inside the school. About 80 percent of the school was damaged, and the parking lot was turned into a lake, accessible to boats not cars.
To help prevent a future flood catastrophe—and to save money in the long run—the district’s scheduled $1.2 million flood abatement project, financed over 10 years, began the day after school ended in June.
The school is susceptible to flooding because it is located in a bowl eight feet lower than the frontage road (Jean Nicolet Rd.). Here is what is being done to address that:
· Nicolet will no longer share storm sewers with the Department of Transportation and the City of Glendale. Nicolet’s stand-alone system will take surface water all the way to the Milwaukee River.
· In addition to having a large capacity to handle storms, the parking lots will be reverse crowned to temporarily store water during heavier rain events.
· A dry "pond" has been installed in the horseshoe area near the main entrance that has the capability of storing the equivalent of seven inches of rain from Nicolet's parking lots and driveway areas.
· Spillways have been added on the north and south side of the building to divert water away from the building if the other design features are overwhelmed.
In addition, LED lights will be added to the parking lot to improve lighting, reduce energy use, and drastically reduce on-going maintenance costs.
The cost of the Nicolet flood was the largest loss incurred by the state’s Local Government Property Insurance Fund (LGPIF). After the flood, LGPIF drastically reduced the coverage limit for storm water runoff exposure. This forced Nicolet to get supplemental insurance at a cost of $100,000 per year, and that coverage is approximately half of what LGPIF had insured the District for before the flood.
The project is scheduled to be completed before school starts.