Board of Regents, State of Iowa, grants UI approval to proceed with planning projects that will modernize, improve campus
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The University of Iowa will begin planning the next 10 years of facilities construction and upgrades, creating much-needed academic space at the core of campus and modernizing the delivery of education and patient care to Iowans.

“This is an exciting opportunity to modernize and care for nearly every corner of campus that will establish the University of Iowa as a destination for students, faculty, staff, and patients well into the future,” says Rod Lehnertz, senior vice president for finance and operations.

Lehnertz and UI Hospitals & Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran presented a preliminary draft of the UI’s 10-year facilities master plan to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, on Wednesday, Jan. 12, as the university sought the board’s approval to proceed with planning the extensive revitalization of campus.

While the 10-year plan is likely to evolve and change, projects designed to support the university’s academic mission and improve student success, include:

  • Modernizing MacLean, Jessup, and Macbride halls on the Pentacrest for academic use and moving university administrative functions to the original Art Building.
  • Renovating the former Museum of Art building for use by the Department of Dance and razing Halsey Hall
  • Renewing building systems and layouts of the Iowa Memorial Union and replacing the adjacent IMU Parking Ramp with a new, modern structure
  • Renewal and modernization of the Main Library
  • Modernizing Hardin Library for the Health Sciences for improved research support

The plan also includes expanding the Tippie College of Business; purchasing and renovating the balance of University Capitol Centre (Old Capitol Mall); selling the Jefferson Building and relocating occupants to academic space on campus; and relocating the UI’s four Cultural Centers to the west end of Hubbard Park.

Some of the projects envisioned for the health care campus, which will improve the delivery of world-class health care of critical need to Iowans, include:

  • The construction of a new inpatient tower for UI Hospitals & Clinics, adding much-needed capacity of more than 200 beds and providing for a single bed per room patient environment
  • Building a new ambulatory care center connected to the main hospital at the current location of the Field House
  • Raze and replace the Medical Education Building with a modern health care research facility
  • Construction of a new academic building to house the Communications Sciences and Disorders program and Health and Human Physiology, the university’s fastest-growing undergraduate major.

“The modernization plan shows a visionary solution to the facility and space issues that we face every day at UI Health Care and will enable us to continue to meet the health care, research, and education needs of Iowa,” says Gunasekaran.

The athletics campus also will see two new private gift-funded buildings:

  • A new Iowa Wrestling Training Facility located adjacent to Carver-Hawkeye Arena
  • A new Women’s Gymnastics and Spirit Squad Training Center located on the Hawkeye Campus along Hawkeye Park Road

In addition, Duane Banks Field and the Iowa baseball complex will be renovated.

The planned revitalization will significantly reduce the deferred maintenance backlog on campus, but will require the removal of several buildings, including the Field House, Halsey Hall, Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center, Westlawn, Hospital Parking Ramp 1, and the IMU Parking Ramp—each of which once served an important purpose in the lives of students, faculty, and staff.

“There is a tipping point at which the upkeep of some of our older buildings is no longer a financially viable option and, in some cases, safety also becomes a concern,” says Lehnertz. “We will look for ways to honor the important roles these buildings, and the accomplishments that took place within them, played on our campus over so many years.”

Once projects are developed and funding commitments identified, plans for individual projects will go before the Board of Regents for approval of design and budget. Projects included in the master plan, which will evolve and change, will be paid for with a mix of donor funding, state funding, hospital revenue, and other sources.

The university will continue to provide regular updates to the Board of Regents and the university community during the course of planning these difference-making projects.