ASHLAND, Neb. — The Nebraska National Guard plans to rebuild its Camp Ashland training site by fortifying its buildings and raising them on stilts after recent flooding caused extensive damage to the facility.
The Guard is pursuing a more than $62 million project to protect the 1,184-acre (479-hectare) facility on the Platte River from future flooding, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
More than 340 guardsmen are working throughout the Midwest to aid those impacted by unexpectedly high floodwaters.
The camp has been working to repair damage from floodwaters that filled classrooms and barracks, standing roughly 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep after the river knocked down a levee last month. Up to 3 feet (1 meter) of sand covered large parts of the camp after the floodwaters receded.
"We had historic damage, a breach of a levee that's never broken before," said Col. Shane Martin, a construction and facilities management officer for the Guard. "It was shocking, truly devastating when you got on the ground."
Now, the National Guard is looking to create stronger defenses at the training site to protect the camp from future floods.
The plans call for putting seven new buildings on stilt pilings at least 7 feet (2 meters) off the ground.
"We want to raise this above the flood, so nothing like this ever happens again," he said.
The Guard also wants to extend a concrete bulkhead that runs inside the river's levee. Other costs included in the plan would repair buildings, roads and trails, as well as replace furniture and equipment.
Martin said the Guard is pursuing stilts because the flooding last month topped floodgates and submerged electrical wiring that had been installed 4 feet (1.2 meters) high as a prevention method after a 2015 flood.
"We have to plan for the worst of the worst," he said.
It remains unclear when the nine aircraft that were evacuated as floodwaters closed in might be able to return to the Nebraska base.
Officials requested funding from the National Guard Bureau in Virginia. The money would come from federal tax dollars, if approved. It’s unclear when Nebraska will receive a response.