Gerdin addition has final approval from regents

Meeting Aug. 1 in the board's Urbandale office, the state Board of Regents gave Iowa State permission to:

  • Build a $28 million, 40,000-square-foot east addition to Gerdin Building containing instruction, office and collaborative spaces for the Ivy College of Business. University funds and private gifts will pay for the addition.
  • Renovate Curtiss Hall third floor for administrative offices for staff in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and English department faculty and graduate students. The $2.3 million cost would be funded by college funds and private gifts.
  • Proceed with planning to convert the top three floors of the Memorial Union from hotel rooms to offices and collaborative spaces for existing student services, including the veterans center, student legal services, study abroad center, LGBTQIA+ student success, NCORE/ISCORE and international students and scholars. Estimated cost is $11 million, to be funded with student fees.
  • Proceed with planning to construct education and outreach facilities, feed mill tower (replacing three outdated ones) and feed storage buildings at the Curtiss Farm southwest of Ames. Privates gifts will cover the estimated $21.2 million price tag.
  • Replace windows and window blinds in Birch, Welch, Roberts, Helser, Oak and Elm residence halls -- a total of 2,244 windows -- for an estimated $12.7 million. Residence department funds will cover the cost.
  • Eliminate two centers, the Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI Design Center in the electrical and computer engineering department, and Asteroid Deflection Research Center, which will become the Asteroid Defense Research Consortium and collaborate with the international community on this issue.

The board also approved changes to its policy manual (chapter 1.4) to include a public comment period at all regular meetings (excluding telephonic or special meetings). Would-be commenters have to register with board office staff at least 48 hours before the start of a meeting. Board president Mike Richards began piloting the comment period in June 2017. It replaces a little-used practice started in 2013 that required members of the public to go to designated campus locations prior to meetings to video-record their comments for board members.

More regents coverage

Reallocations bolster new budget

Final approval expected in September

The board's property and facilities committee reviewed recreation services' $10 million proposal to renovate the intramural field east of Jack Trice Stadium. The plan reconfigures and renovates about 40 acres on the east side of University Boulevard and adds an irrigation system, lights and restrooms. Six softball fields, eight sand volleyball courts and about a dozen soccer/football fields would be distributed between north and south sections, separated by about 650 parking spots (grass and gravel) and a service building.

Recreation services director Mike Giles said the upgrades will help his staff meet student demand for more activities. The irrigation system and lights will allow them to schedule programs later in the day -- up to midnight -- instead of shutting down outdoor competitions at sundown.

Student fees will pay for the improvements. Giles said student fees won't be raised. Recreation services is a self-funded auxiliary unit and receives no state appropriations.

The committee also approved a proposal to replace the steam piping system beneath the Iowa State Center courtyard. The 45 years-plus system services the center's four buildings and is experiencing interruptions in service. Iowa State's utility repair fund would cover the estimated $4.2 million cost.

The proposals go to the full board for final approval Sept. 13.