Building remodels, FY25 funding requests go to regents next week

Appropriations requests to the state for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2024, proposed changes to employee health and dental insurance rates for Jan. 1 and several building remodel requests are on the agenda when the state Board of Regents meets Sept. 27-28 at the University of Iowa. The board's standing committees will conduct their business Wednesday (11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.), and the full board will meet Thursday morning (9:15 a.m.). The agenda is online, and all public portions of the meeting will be livestreamed on the board's website.

State operating support

Around Oct. 1 each year, the regents submit annual funding requests to the Iowa Legislature on behalf of the universities.

Iowa State will ask for a $4.5 million (2.5%) increase to its current $174.1 million operating appropriation from the state for fiscal year 2025. It also will seek an additional $10 million (total of $12.8 million) for year two of STEM workforce programming that focuses strengthening degree programs to meet Iowa's "Hot 50" job demands, supporting manufacturing and boosting the vitality of rural communities to attract and retain workforce talent.

Building projects

University leaders will present budgets and schematic designs for four projects to:

  • Demolish LeBaron Hall and replace it with a new building. This project also renovates the corridor connecting LeBaron and MacKay halls and the Human Nutritional Sciences Building and about 10% of MacKay Hall. The $39 million project budget would be funded by private gifts and university funds.
  • Remodel the athletics department's Bruce McKee Indoor Tennis Complex on South Dakota Avenue to be the training facility for the Cyclone volleyball program. The $4.2 million project budget would be funded by department funds.
  • Renovate part of the Scheman Building, including the east end of ground floor main entrances, entry lobbies and restrooms; and first floor event and circulation areas and restrooms. The $12 million project budget would be funded by ISU Facilities Corporation Bonds.
  • Remodel the food service and back-of-house areas and restrooms at Seasons Marketplace in the Maple Willow Larch residence complex commons. The $2.45 million project budget would be funded by ISU Dormitory Bonds.

Iowa State also will ask for board permission to begin planning for a second remodeling project in the Human Nutritional Science Building to create new homes for the student-operated Joan Bice Underwood Tea Room (first floor) and the textiles science teaching laboratory (second floor). In April, the board approved plans to relocate other textiles science labs from LeBaron Hall.

Student data dashboard

Jason Pontius, associate chief academic officer on the board's staff, will update board members on a new data dashboard on the regents' website, as required by the 2023 Legislature. House File 135 requires the regent universities to share data on those who have completed undergraduate degrees that includes median incomes at specified intervals, student loan debt and student loan payment size, and percentages who went on to complete master's or doctoral degrees.

In other Iowa State business, the board will:

  • Receive an update on participation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' special retirement incentive program.
  • Vote on a request to discontinue the B.A. in speech communications program due to declining interest from students. Those in the program will have a three-year route to completing their degrees.