UI College of Engineering lab in Coralville destroyed by tornado

The research laboratory, used by the UI College of Engineering and located on James Street in Coralville, became unusable as a result of storms that came through the area on March 31.


Matt Sindt

The Old Capitol Building is seen on March 31, 2023. Storms rolled through the area and a tornado caused damage in parts of Coralville.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

A University of Iowa research lab in Coralville used by the College of Engineering was destroyed by the March 31 storm that caused damage across the city, the university announced Tuesday. 

In an IowaNow article, the UI stated that the research lab, located at 2421 James St. in Coralville, will not be repaired and has to be completely rebuilt. 

“The building that housed the lab was built in 2003 and is one of several in Johnson County that were destroyed in the storm. The lab was unoccupied at the time and no one was injured,” it states.

Harriet Nembhard, the dean of the UI College of Engineering, said in the article that she is devastated about the destruction caused to the facility, but was relieved that no one was hurt in the storm. 

“Engineers are resilient. We will rebuild, and we will continue our critically important research,” Nembhard said in the article.

Both residential and commercial properties were damaged or destroyed by the tornado March 31. 

Coralville was one of multiple areas hit that night, along with the nearby communities of Hills, Solon, North Liberty, West Branch, and Tiffin. The National Weather Service estimates more than 20 tornadoes tore across Iowa Friday. 

Johnson County is currently under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Tuesday.