- Lakeside Drive detour information
- Information on the draining of College Lake, added August 4, 2018
- Westover Honors thesis by Michael Dunmyer ’18 about College Lake issues and flood scenarios
Lynchburg, Virginia, is in national news after a public safety alert Thursday night warned about the “imminent failure of College Lake dam.”
Torrential rainfall in the Lynchburg area caused flooding in several places and caused College Lake, which sits on the University of Lynchburg campus, to overflow onto Lakeside Drive. The dam, owned and maintained by the city, became a key concern. If the dam broke, areas downstream could be flooded with 17 feet of water within minutes. Officials evacuated more than 100 homes.
On Friday afternoon, the city announced that the dam is deemed stable for now, but will continue monitoring the situation as additional rainfall passes through the region.
“The University community appreciates the city, Red Cross, and Centra staff members and volunteers who are attending to the needs of our neighbors,” said University of Lynchburg President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren. “We continue to coordinate with the city in the response to this incident, with the safety of our community and our campus as our top priority.”
Dr. Garren walked to Lakeside Drive to observe the lake early Friday morning. College Lake has been a key concern of his as the University community and city officials have discussed its future, knowing that the city would eventually need to remove or upgrade the dam for long-term stability.
College Lake was created more than 80 years ago when the dam was built. For years, it served as a site for recreation as well as environmental study. Erosion and sediment have made it unfit for recreational use in recent years, but it continues to provide an outdoor learning lab.
“College Lake has held a special place in our community for many years,” Dr. Garren said. “Moving forward, we will continue to work with the city to determine the best solution for the future of the dam and the lake.”
The Lakeside Drive entrance to the University of Lynchburg remains closed. Campus can be accessed on College Street and Vernon Street.
Several buildings on campus experienced minor flooding on Thursday night, but issues are being addressed.