Campus makeover

Campus makeover

Main Page Content

University of Iowa construction projects in full swing
New residence hall constructionA crane towers over the West Campus Residence Hall at 304 Grand Ave., just east of Reinow Hall. Work on the 501-bed living space for students began in March and is scheduled to finish in time for the fall 2015 semester. The last on-campus residence hall was built in 1968, and the student population has doubled since then. Photos by Tim Schoon

Travel a block or two in almost any direction from the center of campus and you’re likely to encounter stretches of blaze orange fencing, big trucks, towering cranes, and lots of people in hard hats.

Construction season is in full swing at the University of Iowa this fall, at a pace and scale unprecedented in the school’s 166-year history.

UI Facilities Management is currently tracking 149 “capital” construction, demolition and repair projects, meaning those that cost at least $100,000.

These range from the well known, like the building of a new Hancher performance venue, to the easily overlooked, like installation of a water main beneath the Iowa River. From projects connected to the flood recovery, like the new Art Building, to enhancements to the medical services offered to Iowans and patients beyond the state’s borders, like the UI Children’s Hospital.

'"Construction-related jobs from UI capital projects number more than 10,000. The construction material suppliers, engineers, and architects add further to this total.”
—UI President Sally Mason

Many of the 149 projects are actually sub-contracts related to larger projects. The School of Music replacement project, for instance, is made up of 15 sub-projects, all of which have to undergo a bidding process, from the earthwork and conveying of dirt to prepare the site, to the installation of theatrical and acoustical equipment.

All told, projects whose combined costs total nearly $1 billion are somewhere in the pipeline, either being prepared for bid, already bid and not yet started, or under way.

"This is a thrilling and historic time for the University of Iowa as we rebuild our campus after the 2008 flood, strengthen our academic, health care and research enterprise, and provide additional space for our athletic programs,” says UI President Sally Mason. “While we're excited to see these buildings take shape, we are most looking forward to the opportunities they will afford us to collaborate and enhance the work we do in the areas of teaching, research, and service to Iowans and the world. The UI is truly educating the state’s future workforce.

Mason adds, “We are also extremely pleased with the extensive jobs impact these projects are having for Iowa and will have for decades to come. Construction-related jobs from UI capital projects number more than 10,000. The construction material suppliers, engineers, and architects add further to this total.”

Starting this month, Iowa Now will provide a monthly update in words and images of some of the more visible and complex projects, including the Art Building Replacement Facility, Football Operations Facility, Hancher Replacement Facility, Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, School of Music Replacement Facility, UI Children’s Hospital, and the West Campus Residence Hall. Updates on other campus projects, such as the Iowa Memorial Union and Theater Building renovations, will be provided periodically as well.

To kick things off, here is a summary and photo gallery of the seven major campus projects noted above (including links to Webcams and other information).

Art Building Replacement Facility
Location: 107 River St.
Start Date: June 2013
Completion Date (estimated): Mid-2016, with classes starting in August 2016
Cost (estimated): $77 million
Description: The building replaces the original Art Building complex, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency deemed destroyed by the 2008 flood. The former complex was 126,000 square feet. The new building will be a bit larger to account for code requirements. The new building will be anchored by art studio spaces, many of which are currently residing in a former Menards building south of campus. The unique design will bring natural light into spaces throughout the four-plus story structure, and important feature for art studio spaces.
What’s New? The Art Building Replacement construction project is moving ahead on multiple fronts:

  • Construction of the primary retaining wall piers is complete.
  • Installation continues for steam, chilled water, and domestic water underground utilities
  • Excavation continues to remove soil that overlies limestone bedrock
  • Plans for temporary closure of River Street are being coordinated with the city. This is needed for construction of a new sewer manhole.

In the next few weeks, these activities will be completed, and construction will move on to excavation of under-floor tunnels, rock removal, and drilling of building foundation piers. Over the winter, the work will concentrate on building foundations, walls, and columns. In the spring, the contractor will bring the building "out of the ground” and focus on the process of forming and pouring the six-level concrete structure of the Art Building.
Major Contractor: Miron Construction
Architects: Steven Holl Architects, BNIM Architects
Construction Webcam:


Football Operations Facility
Address: 992 Evashevski Drive
Start Date: March 2013
Completion Date (estimated): July 2014
Cost (estimated): $35 million
Description: This project will construct an addition to the new football indoor practice facility that will house football operations. Included in the new facility will be coaches' offices, team meeting/position rooms, athletic training area, strength and agility training, equipment room, locker rooms, video editing and production area, and a new entry/lobby space and gathering space.
What’s New?The project is halfway completed, with current work focused on the building enclosure, which includes steel, wall framing, precast stone, brickwork, ductwork, roof deck, roofing, electrical rough-ins, pool structure, indoor stair tower, and foam insulation. An estimated 100-125 people are involved in the construction, many of them Hawkeye fans (who have been excited to meet football coach Kirk Ferentz during visits to the work site).
Construction Management: McComas-Lacina Construction LC
Architects: Substance Architecture
Construction Webcam:
Virtual Tour:


Hancher Replacement Facility
141 East Park Road
Start Date: May 2013
Completion Date (estimated): Spring/summer 2016
Cost (estimated): $176 million
Description: This new facility replaces the flood-damaged Hancher at a level 7 feet above the 500-year flood level. The project will include the replacement of Hancher, including a large 1,900-seat, multi-purpose proscenium theater, front of house and back of house support spaces, rehearsal room, and administrative offices. School of Music program space, including the scene shop, costume shop, recording studio, and performing arts production offices, will also be included in the replacement building.
What’s New? The structure is now on its way out of the ground but there is much more growing to go. While a lot of concrete has been poured, only 50 percent of it is in place. As the concrete shell of the auditorium is completed, the public will see a steel skeleton begin to wrap around it. The design is very careful to completely isolate the auditorium structure from the structure of the rest of the building, all for the sake of ideal acoustics required for the state-of-the-art facility like this. The full building should really begin to take shape this spring.
Construction Management: MA Mortenson Construction
Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, OPN Architects
Construction Webcam:


Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building
169 Newton Road
Start Date: August 2010
Completion Date (estimated): Spring/summer 2014
Cost (estimated): $130 million
Description: This building will connect to the Carver Biomedical Research Building/Medical Education & Research Facility, completing the trio of biomedical research facilities identified in the Health Science Master Plan. This project will house generic wet laboratories with appropriate support space and core facilities that will support a new investigative model that allows interdisciplinary research teams to focus specific research problems. The facility will be nine levels with three levels below ground and six levels above the ground at the courtyard. The design team’s goal is to achieve LEED Silver status.
Major Contractor: Walsh Construction Company II LLC
Architects: Gwathmey-Siegel Architects, Rohrbach Associates PC
Construction Webcam:


School of Music Replacement Facility
Location: 93 E. Burlington St.
Start Date: April 2013
Completion Date (estimated): Mid-2016, with occupancy in fall 2016
Cost (estimated): $152 million
Description: Project includes the construction of a new building for the School of Music at the southwest corner of the intersection of Burlington and Clinton streets, to replace the building destroyed by the 2008 flood. The building will include classrooms, teaching studios, library, faculty and administrative offices, recital spaces and the replacement of a 700-seat recital and organ hall.
What’s New? Caisson Contractor continues installation of drilled piers, with work scheduled to be complete by late December. The concrete and steel contractor continues to work on grade beams and foundation walls. The first deck will begin in late December. The electrical contractor has started electrical underground rough in work, and the mechanical contractor has started underground plumbing work.
Construction Management: MA Mortenson Construction
Architects: LMN Architects, Neumann Monson PC
Construction Webcam:


University of Iowa Children’s Hospital
South of and connected to the current UI Hospitals and Clinics, across the street from Kinnick Stadium
Start Date: April 2013
Completion Date (estimated): Mid-2016 (parking structure in 2015)
Cost (estimated): $292 million for hospital, $65 million for parking structure
Description: The 14-story UI Children’s Hospital includes a major underground parking construction and will include 480,000 square feet in new construction plus 56,250 square feet of renovated existing space. The original Children’s Hospital opened in 1919. In 1954, pediatric patients were moved to what was then known as University Hospitals, with pediatric services located throughout the facility.
Construction Management: Gilbane Building Company
Architects: Norman Foster Partners, Heery International, and Stanley Beaman & Sears Architecture and Interiors
Construction Webcam:


West Campus Residence Hall
304 Grand Ave., east of Reinow Hall
Start Date: March 2013
Completion Date (estimated): Mid-2015, open for fall 2015
Cost (estimated): $53 million
Description: This 501-bed residence hall is intended to address a shortage of student living space on campus. The last on-campus residence hall was built in 1968, and the student population has doubled since then. The facility will contain living/learning community and “cluster” room arrangements, typical public and support spaces, academic spaces (including one medium-sized seminar-style classroom), a study commons area, and a small food service facility. Full food service will be provided at the adjacent Hillcrest Residence Hall.
What’s New? Column, stair shafts, and elevator cores, along with elevated slab work in progress through Level 7. The southern two-story projection columns and slabs are in progress.
Major Contractor: Miron Construction
Architects: Rohrbach Associates PC
Crane Camera: Watch a crane operator for Miron Construction climb up a crane at the West Campus Residence Hall project site (video courtesy of KCRG-TV, and editing courtesy of UI Facilities Management.


Stephen Pradarelli, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0007


Email Button