The Pride Alliance Center (Pride House), a home away from home for LGBTQ students at the University of Iowa, is moving to a new, larger location, offering a blank canvas for students to creatively rebuild the space.
The new location, at 601 Melrose Ave., is expected to open this fall. In the meantime, the Pride Alliance Center has set up shop in the Iowa Memorial Union, Room 209, with a temporary “Pride Lounge.”
The Pride House is a community gathering space for LGBTQ students that offers amenities and programming for students whether they need to study, relax, make a meal, or host a program.
Emma Welch, coordinator of the Pride Alliance Center, says students who use the Pride House will have a unique opportunity ahead to craft an environment that provides a sense of belonging and mental and physical comfort. Students can help make the new Pride House their own by hand-picking furniture and inclusive artwork.
“This new space will give our team creativity to rebuild,” Welch says. “Students who use our house will have an active say in creating a space that best serves their community.”
While there will still be plenty of lounge space, the new house will allow for better, larger academic areas.
“We are hoping to outfit one of the second-floor rooms with tables and whiteboards, facilitating a studious environment,” Welch says. “It’s very exciting that our students will have such a significant mark on such an important space.”
The larger house also will serve as a permanent home for the QT Closet, a resource that provides gender-affirming clothing for students in the UI and Iowa City communities. Pride House programming assistants will have their hands in creating the new QT Closet.
“We are so excited to have a space in our new Pride House for the QT Closet,” Welch says. “This initiative has been functioning as a pop-up service but will now have a permanent spot at the new location.”
Located on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Melrose Court, 601 Melrose Ave. is only a four-minute walk from the former Pride House on Grand Avenue Court and sits near other cultural centers and campus resources.
“Three of our four legacy cultural centers—the Afro American Cultural Center, Latino Native American Cultural Center, and Pride House are in a pod formation with the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC) a little farther away,” says Welch. “Now that we will be situated near APACC, the cultural centers will feel more cohesive.”
Why the move?
Pride House was located at 125 Grand Ave. Court—one of several university-owned homes on that street. The Pride House is moving to the new, larger home at 601 Melrose Ave. because the university plans to raze the homes along Grand Avenue Court as part of its 10-year facilities master plan.
The home was built in 1922 as a single-family residence and had been used by the Pride Alliance Center since it opened in fall 2006.