In 2009 and again in 2012, record-breaking rains fell in central Louisville. The University of Louisville’s Belknap and Health Sciences campuses were hit particularly hard—and the University incurred more than $20 million of water damage. These events prompted the University to hire Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company to organize, design, and implement a comprehensive green infrastructure program to manage stormwater runoff for the entire campus.
The University partnered with the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to fund and monitor the new projects. They received MSD stipend allocations for the infiltration and inflow reduction on the existing combined sewer system. With its experience in planning for historic campus landscapes, JBC felt that a “natural” rain garden approach would be out-of-character within the manicured landscapes in the older campus core. JBC developed a “water aesthetic” for the campus to complement the spatial structure and historic periods of its lawns and tree-filled quadrangles.
The work at the University of Louisville demonstrates that large-scale integrated green infrastructure projects can be implemented without compromising the quality of historic cultural landscapes. It also provides a template for how public partnerships can be leveraged to meet multiple-campus objectives. With over 25 green infrastructure projects built or in the design phase, JBC has been able to assist the University in obtaining over 3.7 million dollars of outside funding and reduce flooding on over 152 acres of the campus.