A 2015 summer summary


Demolition inside Marston Hall is nearly complete. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

If you spent more time sipping lemonade this summer than tracking the university's latest happenings, here's a recap.

Construction update

  • Osborn Drive got plenty of attention this summer as planners and construction crews endeavored to make the road safer and less congested. Some sidewalk sections were widened. Bus stops were removed. On-street parking was banned on weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Efforts are underway to reduce traffic travel through gates. And a "Walk Your Wheels" campaign will encourage cyclists to obey university policy and walk bikes on sidewalks.
  • Interior demolition work at Marston Hall, home to the College of Engineering, continued this summer and should wrap up by September. When demolition is complete, about 75 percent of the building's internal load-bearing walls will be replaced to create larger spaces in the 112-year-old building. Marston is slated to reopen at the end of spring semester.
  • Crews began transforming the Hub patio into a larger plaza and free-speech zone this summer. The new area will include outdoor seating with umbrellas, seat walls, an accessible ramp, brick columns and a shade canopy.
  • The south end of Farm House Lane has been extended to Wallace Road and is gated to restrict vehicle traffic. The change improves general access to buildings along the lane, assures service and fire protection during the Bessey Hall construction (beginning next spring) and makes sidewalk slopes compliant with ADA standards.

New hires


Steve Prohm

  • Steve Prohm, men's basketball head coach, effective June 9
  • Beth McNeil, University Library dean, effective July 15
  • Mary Hensley, Thielen Student Health Center interim director, effective July 20


  • Information technology staff are encrypting all ISU laptops to protect university information from thieves. More than 1,000 laptops already are encrypted. If you've purchased a new laptop recently, it was likely encrypted during the initial setup. IT staff are working their way through older laptops on campus. 
  • The College of Engineering purchased 20 mobile device charging stations for visitors and students in its buildings. Each of the ChargeTech freestanding stations plugs into any outlet and features eight charging connector cords for various mobile devices. Other departments interested in installing ChargeTech stations in their buildings should contact the purchasing department.
  • Technical help for Blackboard has moved to the IT Solution Center and includes evening and weekend service hours. For help, instructors may:
  • Contact the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), which will continue to address pedagogical questions on such topics as course design or instructional practices
  • Visit the IT website for links to common help articles, web-based help request forms and an RSS news feed
  • Email solution@iastate.edu
  • Phone or visit the Solution Center, 294-4000, 195 Durham Center
  • A common application portal for Iowa's three state universities went live July 1. The portal, one of the outcomes of the state Board of Regents' TIER (Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review) process, allows students to apply to one or more of the three universities.

Regents' approvals

  • Iowa State got a green light from the state Board of Regents in June to proceed with two biosciences projects. The Advanced Teaching and Research Building, a five-story teaching/research building north of Lagomarcino Hall, will house the plant pathology and microbiology department and portions of two others: entomology, and genetics, development and cell biology. Construction begins next spring and will last two years. A four-story Bessey Hall addition will house undergraduate teaching and research labs for two departments (ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and genetics, development and cell biology) as well as two general university classrooms. Construction also begins next spring and will conclude the summer of 2017.
  • The board approved Iowa State's five-year agreement with the company Fans4Ever to design, construct and market a columbarium and garden adjacent to the east side of the university cemetery, located north of Pammel Drive. An early estimated cost per niche is about $6,000.
  • The board approved Iowa State's FY16 operating budget of $675 million and its total budget of just under $1.4 billion in August.
  • At its Sept. 9 meeting, the board will vote on a proposed tuition increase of 3 percent for resident undergraduates for the spring 2016 semester. If approved, the increase would raise an additional $1.65 million in revenue for Iowa State.


  • University Book Store staff reorganized all textbooks by author's last name, saying goodbye to a decades-old system of grouping texts by academic discipline and course number. A key strength of the alpha system is that a textbook is stocked in one location, no matter how many courses or departments use it. The result is better staff efficiency and customer service.
  • Summer enrollment reached a record-setting 11,636 students, an increase of 106 students over the previous record set in 2014.

Good to know

  • Iowa State is ranked 70th in the world among universities granted U.S. utility patents in 2014, according to the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. ISU researchers earned 31 U.S. patents, including patents for wind turbine tower systems, computer encryption logic, bioasphalt, use of mesoporous silicates for delivering biomolecules into plants cells and improved treatment of Parkinson's disease.
  • Iowa State broke its external funding record, attracting $424.9 million during the fiscal year that ended June 30. The previous record was $388.2 million in FY10. External funding includes grants, contracts, gifts and cooperative agreements from federal, state and local governments as well as from corporations, foundations and other universities.
  • Adjourning the first week in June, the 2015 Iowa Legislature approved $40 million in funding over four years (FY17-20) for Iowa State's Student Innovation Center. In August, the regents gave the green light for planning to proceed and approved the demolition of two buildings to create space for the new center.
  • New parking meters are popping up around campus as officials work to create extra spaces for student drivers. The new meters -- 47 in all -- will affect some general staff spaces, but those displaced spaces are moving closer to central campus. Also new to campus parking this fall is a smartphone app, Parkmobile, that gives users an alternate way to pay at the metered prepay lots near the Lied Center and Armory. Administrators have extended free park times in the prepay lots to include the entire weekend and weekday early evenings. And, all meters on campus have a new five-minute grace period; once the meter reaches zero, drivers have five minutes of ticket amnesty.
  • Ames-based VenuWorks began managing the Iowa State Center on Aug. 1. The center, which includes Stephens Auditorium, Fisher Theater and the Scheman Building, had been managed by Philadelphia-based SMG since 2001. VenuWorks manages all events, conferences, catering and concessions except those at Hilton Coliseum, which the athletics department still manages.