Regents will act on numerous Iowa State building requests next week

The residence department will seek permission to grow its capacity – on several fronts – when the state Board of Regents meets next Thursday in Cedar Falls. Department leaders propose to lease 16 more apartment buildings (for approximately 560 students) in southwest Ames beginning Aug. 1 and build a residence hall (about 700 students) east of Buchanan Hall on Lincoln Way. In collaboration with ISU Dining, the residence department also would like to renovate the former Friley Hall dining center into a food court.

The residence plans are among numerous building projects Iowa State leaders hope to start formal planning on, including expansions at the football stadium and the Scheman Building. The board meeting begins at 9 a.m. Feb. 6 at the University of Northern Iowa's student union. The full agenda is online, and all public portions of the meeting will be audio streamed on the board's website.

New residence hall

Record-setting freshman classes, coupled with as many as 2,000 residence hall students who want to return to a hall, has created a big demand for Iowa State's approximately 7,200 residence hall beds, said residence director Pete Englin. While Iowa State doesn't require students to live on campus, many are choosing to.

"The experiences provided in the residence halls connect new students to a community that fosters student success," he said.

A new 700-bed residence hall would help address the demand. Englin said he sought input from Inter Residence Hall Association leaders on a location for the hall. The site west of Friley was another option, but students favored the Buchanan site, he said.

If the board gives the green light and planning proceeds, Englin said the goal would be to have the building open by fall 2016 or earlier. An early cost estimate is $50 million, which would be funded by dormitory revenue bonds.

A long-term department goal, he said, is to eliminate the need to lease off-campus spaces to operate them as residence department housing. This year, there are five such buildings; one in Campustown and four in southwest Ames, which added space for about 500 students.

The department will ask the board for permission to lease 16 under-construction apartment buildings in southwest Ames on Maricopa Drive and to renew the lease on four adjacent buildings it currently leases. The 20 buildings would provide a residence department experience for about 760 students during the 2014-15 year.

Friley dining center

Converting the former dining room and kitchen into a food court would help ease the demand for food service on central campus, particularly at midday. As proposed, yet-to-be-determined but multiple stations would have their own menus and pay registers, with a shared seating area open all day for student use. The estimated $5 million renovation, to be funded by dormitory revenue bonds, would add an east entrance (currently the dining area is accessible from within Friley).

Biosciences facilities

Iowa State also will ask to begin formal planning for two biosciences facilities: A teaching and research facility planned for the northwest corner of Stange Road and Pammel Drive (current site of Industrial Education II) and an addition to the east side of Bessey Hall that provides introductory and advanced teaching spaces. The project also would renovate unidentified space. An estimated cost of $80 million would include $25 million in private gifts and a proposed $55 million in state appropriations (including $2 million in planning funds in FY15). A planning study for biosciences completed in December, which identified needs and considered existing facilities, calls for nearly 160,000 additional square feet of space to meet student interest and employer demand for bioscience-related skills and degrees.

Marston Hall renovation

The board will be asked to approve renovation plans and a budget ($24.1 million) for Marston Hall, the home of the College of Engineering. The plan reserves the two lower floors for high-traffic uses, such as classrooms and student services, and moves the college's administrative units, including the dean's office to the upper two floors. The proposed financing of the project is $15.9 million in university funds and $8.2 million in private gifts. Construction could begin in September and last about 18 months. Leaders have planned a "sustainable reinvention of a historic building;" the university hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification for the project.

Scheman Building addition

Iowa State will seek board permission to renovate the Scheman Building and build a north addition to it. The request is subject to a successful bond referendum by Ames voters on March 4 to pay for the city's half of the project. The new space would add convention-style "flat space" and is expected to help the city and university compete more successfully within the state to host educational and other large events. The estimated $38 million cost -- $32 million in new construction; $6 million in renovation -- would be shared by the city and Iowa State. The city's share would be covered by a bond sale; the university's portion by a combination of university funds, private gifts and user fees.

Stadium improvements

The athletics department will seek permission to proceed with planning to replace the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium. The proposed project would "bowl in" the stadium with two decks of seating, including some type of premium indoor seating. The project would upgrade the south video/sound systems and add storage and guest services. The project also would develop some of the parking lots between the stadium and Reiman Gardens as green space. Roy and Bobbi Reiman, founders of Reiman Publications and for whom the gardens are named, provided a lead gift of $25 million in November for the estimated $60 million stadium project.

Lagomarcino Hall renovation

Interior demolition work began earlier this month in Lagomarcino Hall's north wing for the School of Education project. It will consolidate administrative offices, advising offices, classrooms and support spaces on both floors around a new north entrance and lobby. Iowa State is submitting another revised budget ($5.4 million) to the board because all project bids received in November exceeded the budget ($5.1 million).