Hilton concourse, campus cellphone coverage proposals clear regent committee

Architect's sketch of renovated Hilton Coliseum

An architect's rendering of what a renovated Hilton Coliseum might look like following a concourse and entry expansion the athletics department hopes to pursue. The built-out area (center) depicts a new concessions area. Image courtesy of athletics communications.

A request to begin planning $25 million of improvements at Hilton Coliseum cleared a state Board of Regents committee Feb. 27 and will go before the full board in April.

The athletics department's concept for Hilton would move concessions on the north and south concourses from interior to exterior walls, in effect widening the concourses by 50 percent to improve circulation for fans. The new concessions areas would be equipped to serve a greater variety of food, reducing the reliance on food carts. The north and south entrances to Hilton also would receive upgrades, including accessibility features and, possibly, an outer glass curtain wall that would create dramatic two-story foyers. The building's original (1970) mechanical systems and two elevators would be upgraded. Athletics department operating funds and private gifts would cover the estimated $25 million price tag.

The board's property and facilities committee will send two other ISU requests to the full board next month:

  • A schematic design and budget for expanding the Veterinary Medicine Field Services facility, which simulates an agriculture animal veterinary practice. The College of Veterinary Medicine proposes to renovate 1,500 square feet of the existing 9,000 square-foot field services building and add 6,000 square feet. The building is on the east edge of the Vet Med campus. Caseloads there have more than doubled, and the number of veterinary students on mixed or food animal tracks is rising, as is the volume of faculty field-based research. If approved in April, construction could begin later this spring and last about 15 months. Field services, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the college would cover the $3.7 million cost.
  • A proposed five-year lease with Verizon to improve cellphone coverage on campus. Verizon would install, at its expense, small cell structures on campus light poles -- eight on the main campus, five to service football stadium lots and one at the Vet Med campus. As proposed, Verizon would pay a signing bonus at installation and a monthly fee for energy use and data connections. Iowa State already has service contracts with Verizon and U.S. Cellular.

First look: Parking rates

The full board received ISU parking proposals for the year beginning July 1. Employee permits would go up 2.6-2.9 percent ($5-$25), departmental and vendor permits would go up 5 percent ($10 and $15, respectively).

Permits for the Memorial Union ramp, which is not managed by ISU's parking division, would go up 2.2-2.5 percent ($5-$12). The MU proposes no increases to its hourly rates next year.

Final approval is expected in April.

July 1 parking permit increases




24-hour reserved






General staff*












MU ramp






   Fall, spring









*Includes Ames Lab and residence department staff
**Includes MU employees

Student financial aid

Board staff member Jason Pontius summarized the most recent student financial aid data (2017-18) for the board's campus and student affairs committee. He said regent universities are providing increasing amounts of aid as part of their mission to keep higher education affordable, with much of the additional aid reserved for undergraduates with financial need.

2017-18 academic year: Iowa State undergraduate financial aid



Increase over 2016-17

Total financial aid

$291.6 million

4 percent

Total aid provided by ISU

$134 million

8 percent

      Average per student*


9 percent

Total grants and scholarships awarded by ISU

$109 million

5 percent

Total need-based scholarships and grants awarded by ISU

$75.8 million

13 percent

      Average per student*


14 percent

*Average across all undergraduates: 30,406 in 2017-18; 30,671 in 2016-17 (record high)

Other 2017-18 notes:

  • Among undergraduates with need, Iowa State met the need of 77 percent of resident students and 81 percent of nonresident students.
  • Average debt for resident students graduating with debt continues to drop, to $26,295 in 2017-18.

U of Iowa utility manager proposal

During his scheduled comments, regents president Mike Richards said he "strongly supports" the University of Iowa announcement in early February that leaders were exploring a service agreement with a private third party to operate campus utilities as a new revenue source. He commended president Bruce Harreld for being thoughtful, deliberative and transparent about the process. Harreld emphasized the university isn't selling its utility enterprise; simply asking a private party to operate it. Proceeds from this arrangement would go into an endowment, and the university would invest the earnings in teaching and research priorities. Following campus forums this spring, a request for proposals could be prepared in June, with a signed contract possible by the end of the calendar year.

"We will need additional resources in the future, and exploring ways to find new sources of revenue to add to our existing ones is helpful to all parties," Richards said. He also noted that new revenue shouldn't replace existing sources, "but it does help grow the overall pool."

Other business

In other Iowa State business, the full board:

  • Gave final approval to a new National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education, with Iowa State serving as host institution as designated by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges during a competitive bid process. As an interdisciplinary institute, it will report to the office of the vice president for research. It will be housed in the ISU Research Park.
  • Completed a first read of proposed student housing and dining rates for next year. Residence hall and campus apartment rates would go up about 2 percent (mostly in the $80-$150 range, depending on the building and room capacity). Flex meal packages and academic year meal plans would increase by a similar range, 1.7-1.9 percent. The door rate for guests at campus dining centers would go up 50 cents next year, to $10.50 for breakfast and $13.50 for lunch or dinner. Assistant vice president for student affairs and residence director Pete Englin told the board Iowa State will stop leasing off-campus apartments on July 1, ending a six-year practice to supplement its on-campus housing inventory. University-owned furniture from off-campus apartments will replace older furniture in campus units. Englin said the residence department will invest about $15 million a year through 2024 in residence and dining renovation projects.

The board's academic affairs committee approved these ISU name change requests, which will go to the full board in April:

  • Changing the agricultural biochemistry undergraduate major to biochemistry. It's a basic science major in the biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology department with no agricultural requirement.
  • Changing the M.A. in graphic design to experiential graphic design. The change reflects the evolving and broadening work expected of designers and sets the program apart from all others in the country (no other school uses this title yet).