STORY BY LAURA VOLLMER
“Drake Lake” is infamous for its rolling tide, swarming waters and is the single cause of every person’s drenched shoes on a mild rainy day.
“Drake Lake” is a student-identified term for the over-flooding of Drake University’s sidewalks. The excessive amount of water on the sidewalks has caused much resentment and discussion within the student community.
“Drake Lake” is usually located near the first-year Quad buildings and the Agora. It is due to a large stream of water flowing down the sidewalks towards Forest Avenue. Usually the large amount of water pools, allowing no area to walk through. This is quite common at most universities because of the amount of rainfall and draining trouble. Drake University has tried to fix the problem through several different solutions.
Director of Facilities Mark Chambers said the facilities team tries to fix these problems annually.
“When we find areas where water ponds or stands we install drainage. For example, on the northeast corner of Olmsted a large drain was added in the sidewalk and just off the northeast edge,” Chambers said. “Also north of the water feature at the Agora you will see newer concrete. This was placed to accommodate a low spot where water pooled. All in all, we chase and repair these every year.”
Student Senate Buildings and Grounds Liaison Zachary Belvins is aware of the issue and Senate is working to fix it, but there may be some roadblocks.
“Student Senate is aware of the drainage issues throughout campus and would ideally like to fix it,” Blevins said. “However, altering the drainage system would require extensive construction across campus, possibly requiring the destruction and rebuilding of buildings in order to change the foundation for new drainage pipes. As it has been described to me, the main issue lies in Drake’s placement in terms of Des Moines’ storm drainage pipes, where the pipes fill up before our drainage is completely in there. I have full trust in Drake’s facilities and grounds staff, as they have the most information and experience with our drainage system.”
Many students wear rain boots, plastic bags around shoes or other gear to avoid getting their shoes drenched.
Some students like wearing rain boots as it can be fashionable with all different colors, shapes and sizes. However, even with the ability to wear rainproof shoes, students still become frustrated.
Sophomore Emelia Fabel sees “Drake Lake” as something that makes the university special.
“At the end of the day, it is a unique characteristic of the campus that is kind of cool, and leads to some fun stories,” Fabel said.
Chambers encourages students to call facilities if there are problems on campus.
“If they know it is flooded, plan another route,” Chambers said. “Let us know of areas that hold water at (515) 271-3955. If it is raining, especially hard, expect some water on hard surfaces both walking and driving.”