Tuesday, September 12, 2023

As the University of Iowa takes the next step toward a major renovation to the Iowa Memorial Union, let’s take a look at three key features planned for the reimagined space:

  1. A new Student Well-Being Center dedicated to student services and care

The footprint of the current Iowa House Hotel will be remodeled to house services such as Student Health, University Counseling Service, and other wellness and support programs. Also included will be resources for students experiencing urgent concerns. Flexible spaces for meetings, study, meditation, relaxation, art, and music will be included throughout the building.

  1. A new building layout will connect Hubbard Commons to the River Room and River Terrace

By creating a public plaza overlooking the Iowa River on the west side of the building—adjacent to IMU food services—planners envision creating a favorite hangout location for students. In addition, research shows that spending time outside or connected to the outdoors improves mental health. Architects will use this principle so that students will have more direct connection to the spaces along the river, natural light, and nature elements within and outside the building.

  1. Creating a new IMU “front porch”

The parking lot between the current south entrance and Hubbard Park will be removed, and a new veranda will wrap the south and east sides of the building, creating a “front porch” for relaxation, study, and socializing. The new space will be more inviting and pedestrian friendly and will provide a direct connection between the IMU and Hubbard Park.

About the renovation project

The current estimate for renovations, which will be completed in two phases, is $75 million. Work is expected to begin in fall 2024 and will be funded primarily through a new student fee of $100 to $120 per semester that was proposed and supported by Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Government. The IMU will remain open while the work is being completed.