Shrinking Newman Lake

Brent Finnegan -- January 21st, 2011

The Breeze reported Thursday that Newman Lake will shrink by more than half over the summer. The JMU Board of Visitors recently approved the lake-reduction project because “the dam that controls the water level for the lake no longer adheres to 2008 Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation regulations,” according to the report.

Newman Lake, Harrisonburg

High dynamic range image of Newman Lake by John Daniel Reiss (hburgnews Flickr group)

The new regulation guidelines evaluate dams based on major roadways around them. According to the guidelines, any bodies of water that could flood over a major roadway in case of dam failure must be reevaluated. Newman Lake’s proximity to Interstate-81 made it necessary to be re-evaluated.

In order to preserve the lake and cut costs, the Board of Visitors approved to shrink the lake in size instead of installing a spillway structure under Bluestone Drive. (read the full story)

Breeze writer Tyler McAvoy reported that the project is expected to cost $950,000.

17 Responses to “Shrinking Newman Lake”

  1. This is an unfortunate situation. However, given the rules as they are and the difficult budgetary situation, not to mention the serious need to keep that stretch of road open, it appears that this is the best that can be done. We do not always get what we want, and all that.

  2. Jamie Smith says:

    Perhaps that will leave room for further stadium expansion beyond the $60 million now being spent.

    • bazrik says:

      I’m psyched to see a game in the new stadium. Go Dukes!

      Man, they go through millions like it’s chump change over there…

      • Renee says:

        Only if it’s pre-allocated for building projects. When it comes to funding actual teaching, it’s another story… that money has to come from another “bucket”.

  3. Jamie Smith says:

    Renee, you are right, but why can’t that “bucket” that builds stadiums and soccer fields be used to keep tuition from going up every year? Nobody at the university will explain that. Maybe you can.

  4. Brooke says:

    Jamie, that’s just not the way state institution funding goes. Funding allocated by the State for building projects can only be used for that. And if money is allocated by private donors for certain projects (which some of this may be), then you have to use that money for what it was allocated for. Nothing else. JMU doesn’t make the final call on tuition going up. The State does. There are a lot of perks that come from being a state school. There are also a lot of constraints that tie your hands.

  5. Jamie Smith says:

    Brooke, tuition is determined by the university’s Board of Visitors, not the state. The funds used to build the stadium enlargement came mostly from so called “auxiliary” funds; student fees, bookstore income, food services income. Sure, some donor funds were used but these were small in comparison to the total project. My question is why can’t these auxiliary funds be used for educational purposes, faculty salaries, etc., that will help keep tuition down.

  6. Brooke says:

    I stand corrected on the tuition raises, but I’m fairly certain faculty salaries, like staff salaries, are not paid, and cannot be paid, out of those auxiliary funds. It’s got to be allocated and approved by the State. I think there is a limit to what some of these funds can be used for. I’m not sure if programs can be funded by funds, but I am almost positive they can’t fund staff/faculty positions, and we all know that a large part of the cost of educational purposes, is staffing. Can’t add a class or program without the administrative cost.

    That isn’t to say that I don’t think when there are different options, that a higher priority given to things that are perceived to generate revenue and interest (prospective student/donor). I think that happens a lot in education, in general, sadly.

    I’m just saying this isn’t all on the Board of Visitors or JMU. Some of it is the way funding allocations can and can’t be used.

  7. Joe says:

    Thanks to Timmy Kaine and big Govt policies Lake Newman is no more…..

    to be hoenst it’s been quite an eyesore lately so I’m not sad to see it go…but I remember when it used to be a big part of the JMU landscape.

      • Jason B says:

        Sometimes it is a better strategy to laugh rather than cry about these things, Lowell.

        “Big Government Shrinks Newman Lake! News at 11!”

        • Maybe if the lake was big enough it would shrink the government?
          :-)

          • Joe says:

            The dam that controls the water level for the lake no longer adheres to 2008 Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation regulations…..signed into law by TK. This is the main reason behind the end of the lake…it would cost to much to fix the damn…so they are just ending the lake.

  8. seth says:

    i blame the shrinking lake on the drying out of greek row….

  9. Frank J Witt says:

    The Obama administration, upon reading this blog, has declare the shrinking of Lake Newman, to be President GW Bush’s fault. Real news at noon….

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