1993 and 2010 brought major flooding to Iowa and Ames was right in the middle of it each time. Both times we saw major flooding in Hilton Coliseum.
In 1993, all 99 counties in Iowa were declared a disaster zone by the governor due to the flooding. Many homes were destroyed, and farmers crops were wiped out. Hilton Coliseum took the hit as well. Water from the Squaw Creek and Skunk River poured over its banks and flooded Ames. At one point, the flood waters were 14 feet above floor level.
It was estimated that Iowa State University took over $7 million in damages from the flood in 1993. With most of the athletic facilities in the flood plain, it is something that is almost unavoidable.
Fast forward to 2010, and de ja vu. The rains came and soon after Squaw Creek and the Skunk River gave way. This time 8 feet of water rushed inside Hilton Coliseum. Thankfully, flood barriers were installed, though they could only stop so much.
The Iowa State Athletic Department estimated that the recovery efforts this time around took 3 weeks less than it did in 1993.
Thankfully, Hilton Coliseum has withstood the flood threats and continues to host some of the biggest games in college basketball year in and year out. Hilton will face another flood in the coming years, but now, the athletic department is ready, and Hilton is a tough ol’ bird.