Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Editor's note: The Iowa Board of Regents granted the university permission to proceed with planning a new parking ramp at its meeting on Feb. 28.

As the University of Iowa and UI Health Care look ahead to the additional staff and patients a new inpatient tower will bring to the west side of campus, so too will come the need for more parking.

The UI will ask the Iowa Board of Regents at its Feb. 28 meeting for permission to proceed with planning an additional parking ramp on the west half of the parking lots adjacent to the College of Dentistry building.

map of the proposed parking ramp in the dental lot

If it moves forward, the project would not begin until the new Hawkeye Parking Ramp, under construction north of Kinnick Stadium, is completed later this year or in early 2025. 

“The new hospital tower will bring more people—including patients, visitors, and employees—to that area of our campus and it will be important for us to be prepared for that,” says Rod Lehnertz, senior vice president for finance and operations. “In addition, being able to provide parking that is near the hospital complex is an important part of recruiting the staff needed to care for our patients.”

The proposed new ramp, which would include 1,000 to 1,200 spaces, along with reconfiguring the east part of lots 33, 40, and 44, would provide a net increase of about 800 spaces.

Adding a new ramp near the College of Dentistry building also will create more parking for the dental clinics and athletics events at nearby Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

The preliminary estimated project budget, should the university decide to move forward with construction, is $55 million to $60 million.    

Also underway: Relocating the water tower

Another key enabling project for the new inpatient care tower is underway on the west side of campus.

The university’s utility partner, ENGIE North America, has begun working on the underground utility improvements necessary to build a new, larger water tower northwest of the football practice fields.

The new water tower will replace the current water tower located along Hawkins Drive near the main entrance of UI Hospitals & Clinics, which will need to be removed to make way for the new inpatient care tower.

The current water tower won’t be removed until the new water tower is built and fully functioning because it provides water storage for the entire campus.