So long, satellite

Satellite removal

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The north side of campus lost one if its directional landmarks last week when the enormous satellite dish near the Communications Building was dismantled. It was one of two satellite dishes removed from the northwest corner of the Pammel Drive intersection with WOI Road.

The largest one, enclosed by a brick wall and chain-link fence, was constructed in 1985. It was the first "permanent video satellite earth station" built in Iowa. It cost nearly $600,000 -- purchased with WOI-TV operating funds and commercial revenues generated through video uplinks. Iowa State used the satellite for university and extension programs, including course delivery and continuing education.

Satellite before removal

The satellites prior to their removal. File photo by Bob Elbert.

As part of a collaboration of universities, Iowa State provided space just north of the WOI device for an additional satellite in 1987. Purchased by National Technological University, the second satellite was utilized for engineering-based continuing and graduate education.

Jim Haberichter, construction manager in facilities planning and management and project manager, said the satellites, enclosure, control building and electronics are being salvaged and recycled. He said both satellites used analog transmissions, rather than digital, and were no longer used.

When weather permits, the sidewalk on the east side of the Communications Building will be extended south to Pammel Drive and landscaping will be added. Pedestrians should continue to cross Pammel at the northeast corner (Molecular Biology Building) of the intersection for safety reasons.