University of Iowa’s 10-year master plan includes shaving Halsey Hall, Westlawn



The University of Iowa’s 10-year master plan will bring big changes to the campus, including razing Halsey Hall and Westlawn and renovating the Iowa Memorial Union.

The university presented its master plan to the State Board of Regents on January 12, where it received approval from the regents to begin planning. The main projects on the UI list are the modernization of the Pentacrest buildings and the construction of a new inpatient tower for UI hospitals and clinics.

Rod Lehnertz, UI’s senior vice president for finance and operations, said that with permission from the regents to begin planning, the university determines what the best projects will be based on cost and value considerations.

“You’re starting to realize in this 10-year plan how interconnected many of these projects are,” Lehnertz said. “The Iowa Memorial Union is tied to Halsey Hall and dances as it moves to the old museum building, which opens up an open space…when Halsey is flattened, we can fix a problematic parking ramp, which is the parking ramp. the IMU.”

Lehnertz said while the plan looks like there will be a lot of construction and work over the next 10 years, projects running over a longer period will average about $50 million a year. in construction.

Most of the projects have yet to be fully funded and will need state funding or donation funding to work on them, he said.

Regents will vote Wednesday on whether to approve part of the 10-year plan, the Iowa Wrestling Training Center.

“It’s been 10 years. These projects haven’t been fully defined yet. Some won’t happen for seven, eight, nine, 10 years, others we’re currently working on, or we’ll start with council approval. “Said Lehnertz. “When we look at smaller projects, they are flagship projects and we will all pay attention to them as we go along.

A key project in the 10-year master plan is the IMU modernization plans, Lehnertz said. The systems and layout of the building are some of the aspects the staff are focusing on to make it a more student-centric building.

“There is a network of places where students go between classes, and the renewal of the union will reinforce that as a home base for students between classes,” he said. “Our president makes it a priority to ensure that the Iowa Memorial Union is a true home base for students socially and between classes and for centers of student organization.”

The university took federal funding to rebuild IMU after the 2008 flood, which prevented it from making changes to the building until September 2021. President Barbara Wilson said The Iowan Daily on February 14, she hopes that the IMU can be organized to better serve the mental health of students.

“People don’t even know we have a pantry there, or a pantry for clothes, because it’s hidden in places that people aren’t even aware of,” Wilson said. “I think the idea is to really support mental health and wellbeing in one of the spaces that we hope more students will go to on a regular basis once it’s renovated.”

Lehnertz said the Iowa Memorial Union, along with its parking ramp, are among other projects that are impossible to work on until other projects are completed.

One of the “domino projects” mentioned by Lehnertz was the Halsey Hall shave. The project will relocate the dance program to the old art museum building on the west side of campus and free up space for the replacement of the IMU parking ramp.

Joe Bilotta, director of campus planning at UI, said moving the dance program to the old UI art museum building would be better for the dance.

“The type of spaces there are great for dancing because we have a big volume,” Bilotta said. “It won’t satisfy all dance needs, but about 80% of them. The idea is that when we can find the funds, it’s to reallocate them to dance, [it] then allows us to destroy Halsey Hall.

Brody Ohm, a freshman at IU taking dance classes at Halsey Hall, said he was wary of potential changes and didn’t want a fine arts building to be taken down .

“The arts in America are already funded and unrecognized,” Ohm said. “By pushing dance into a building and tearing it down, it shows the lack of respect or care for the arts and dance.”

Ohm said he liked dancing at Halsey Hall because there was enough studio space for dancing and he was worried the old art museum was not equipped for dancing.

“There’s not enough space and there are no studio spaces,” Ohm said. “Putting dance into something that feels closed and boxed shows how little they think about the program. Boxing in the arts and creative ways shows that it means nothing.

Bilotta said while there are some cool spaces at Halsey Hall, it’s too expensive a building to turn into a quality dance center.

Another building like Halsey Hall is Westlawn, which the university also plans to raze to move UI Student Health into IMU, Bilotta said.

“The idea is that we will slowly move the programs around and when we have them empty we will raze them,” he said. “Our master plan has reserved three potential sites for three buildings that will support health sciences, nursing and public health in a collaborative center, and lots of research.”

Other projects in the plan include upgrading the rest of the main library to resemble the first floor, prospective students living along the Iowa River on the west side of campus, and a new pavilion on Grand Court, Bilotta said. .

The UI community can expect to see projects kick off in the next two years on which designs are currently being worked on, he said.

“The first thing the campus will see is a new parking structure north of the transit center near Kinnick Stadium,” Bilotta said. “Also, on the corner of Melrose and Grand Avenue, this will be a new academic facility, as we are going to have to demolish the Speech and Hearing building.

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