DUBUQUE, IA – A retaining wall in the middle of the Loras College campus collapsed this morning at about 7:30a.m.
Emergency officials quickly taped off the area around Loras Parkway and closed access to the skywalk. No injuries were reported, however, instability of the remaining portions of the wall, as well as possible damage to college’s main transformer, is still in question. Power has been shut off in several buildings on campus, but officials expect most should have power back by the end of the day.
Loras Senior and Smyth Hall resident, Kaitlyn LaGrange, describes hearing the collapse, “I heard a really loud, kind of crumbling noise from my room, and I didn’t really think much of it”.
Smyth Hall, which houses both students and classrooms, was initially closed because of safety concerns given its close proximity to the retaining wall. But at 11:25am the Loras College twitter page tweeted that it was safe to re-enter Smyth Hall.
Loras Interim Director of Marketing and Communications, Jim Naprstek, explains what may have caused the wall to collapse, “the amount of rain that we have received in the last two to three weeks here in Eastern Iowa. More and more water build up and with nowhere for that water to go, it began to put a lot of pressure on that wall and eventually you see what happened this morning”.
Gas lines are also shut off due to safety concerns, however, meals are still being served on campus with limited options. Fences have been put in place to prevent people from entering the parkway.
Naprstek tells us, that early next week college officials will begin to meet with professionals from engineering, electrical, construction firms to utilize their expertise to rebuild the wall in the safest and most effective way. The parkway will remain closed until further notice from the college.