The University of Iowa

Volga Opera House Renovations Engineering & Design

Volga Opera House
Academic Year 
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Project Partner 

As part of the Senior Design Capstone Course, Civil & Environmental Engineering students provided designs and cost estimates for the renovation of a historic opera house in Volga, Iowa.

Since its official opening in 1914, the opera house in Volga has been a venue for many local events in Clayton County. However, the building recently experienced a major flood that caused significant water damage throughout the structure and rendered the building
unusable. The non-profit organization Volga City Truck Cruise, Inc (VCTC) acquired the building in 2010 with the goal of restoring it to the community hub of the area. The client hopes to provide not only an attraction for tourism from the broader River Bluffs Scenic Byway region, but also as a place to reintroduce quality arts and entertainment to a rural community that has gone long without it. The opera house is currently undergoing interior remodeling to accommodate the venue’s return as the entertainment hub of the region. With this in mind, VCTC is interested in several additions and alterations to the existing building that will complement the current remodeling and future goals of the venue. These additions and alterations include the design of a parking lot, a solution to increase the outdoor seating capacity of the venue, a new food delivery system, and a flood protection plan to prevent flood damage to the building and its interior.

The overall project was split into four separate components. The engineering team created design drawings for the addition of a new parking lot, a wrap-around deck, a rooftop deck with accompanying roof alterations and stairwell, a dumbwaiter system to assist with the movement of food throughout the building, and measures to protect the building and its assets against flooding.  The final deliverables include design renderings and cost estimates.