Hammond resident Judy Johnson bounces back from Zumbro River disaster with help from Architectural Tech students
When Architectural Technology Instructor Beverly Claybrook heard about the Zumbro River flash flood that devastated Hammond and Zumbro Falls, Minn., in late September 2010, she contacted civic officials and relief agencies offering help from students in her program. Claybrook knew that many homes along the Zumbro had been severely damaged by flood waters. KARE 11 reported that emergency management officials found that 39 of Hammond’s 75 homes were flooded with at least 20 destroyed. KARE 11 also reported that 58 homes and 20 businesses were destroyed in Zumbro Falls.
“It was heartbreaking to see so many people displaced from their homes,” Claybrook said. “I knew that we would be able to help in some way. Eventually, Zumbro Falls posted my letter offering assistance on the city’s website.”
Dakota County Technical College
I am an architect and teach at Dakota County Technical College. I have teams of architectural drafters and interior design students that would like to help homeowners who are looking to rebuild after the flood. My students could provide the necessary drawings to get building permits and/or assist with design decisions as they begin to rebuild. I know you are eager for families to rebuild rather than leave the community and perhaps our small offer would be just enough to influence someone’s decision to stay. Please contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 612-964-3089. — zumbrofallsmn.org
Judy Johnson, a long-time Hammond resident forced out of her home by flood waters, saw the letter and contacted Claybrook. Johnson was looking for a complete remodel of her residence before she moved back home. She saw that working with the college would not only give students a chance to gain real-world experience, but also present her with a variety of plans she could use to make her final decision. Johnson recognized the collaboration as a silver lining to a far-reaching calamity.
A lab assistant going on 18 years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Johnson was at work when the Zumbro River crested at 36 feet in Hammond—or more than 18 feet above flood stage—dumping more than three feet of water on the main floor of her house. “It was like a war zone when I got home,” Johnson recalled. “The National Guard was there and gave us ten minutes to gather our belongings and evacuate.”
Eight first-year students in the Architectural Technology program have worked on the service-learning project with their instructor, Paul Karlson. One of their first tasks involved traveling to Hammond as a group to visit Johnson’s home and get a firsthand look at the damage and the existing floor plan.
“Each student created a schematic walkthrough using Google SketchUp and construction documents using AutoCAD,” Karlson said. “We then met with Judy on campus so that the students could present their plans in person.”
Emily Detjen, 24, of St. Paul, Minn., is one of the students working on the project. Detjen first got interested in architecture as a four-year-old watching her grandfather craft blueprints for his job as a civil engineer. Because she had a strong interest in design, she went on to take auto body and graphic design classes at the Dakota County Secondary Technical Center as a student at Prior Lake High School. Working on the service-learning project has given her the opportunity to put her love of design in action.
“Designing plans for Judy on this project has been quite interesting,” Emily Detjen said. “I really like working for a live client. It’s nice to get a different perspective and see other opinions.”
From her work at Mayo, a world-renowned teaching hospital, Judy Johnson is familiar with how a superb training process unfolds. She has been more than impressed by the professionalism and commitment the students have brought to the project. “I am amazed by their work,” said Johnson, who is currently residing with her sister in Rochester. “They have given me some great and unique ideas. Now all I have to do is pick the ideas I like best.”
To see photos from the Zumbro River flash flood of September 2010 and read more about how the disaster has affected area residents, check out “Flood updates from southern Minnesota” on Minnesota Prairie Roots by Audrey Kletscher Helbling