Regents elect Sherry Bates to lead the board

The state Board of Regents unanimously elected president pro tem Sherry Bates, Scranton, to serve as board president through April 30. Bates, who had served as interim board president for the last six weeks, will complete the two-year leadership term of Michael Richards, who stepped down as president on Jan. 16.

In a second 9-0 vote, regent Greta Rouse, Emmetsburg, was elected to serve for two months as president pro tem. Both regents are Iowa State alumna.

Residence, dining rate increases

Iowa State residence system occupancy numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels, residence director Michael Harwood told the regents during his annual update. Wilson Hall rooms are being used as doubles this year to support student interest in campus housing.

He said the residence department expects its total occupancy (residence halls and apartments) to increase from 10,030 students this year and stabilize at 10,300 students beginning in the 2025-26 academic year. With occupancy already at 96% this year, to help meet the demand, 100 beds in University Village will be available and some Wallace Hall rooms could be converted from single to double occupancy as needed.

However, rate increases averaging 1.6% since 2020-21 have not kept pace with inflation in nearly every expense category -- wages, fringe benefits, utilities, insurance and food -- or provided sufficient funding for building improvement projects. Harwood noted that 17 of Iowa State's 21 residence buildings are 53 to 110 years old, creating a lengthy deferred maintenance list. Market competition is another compelling reason to upgrade facilities, particularly for popular features like air conditioning and modern bathroom layouts.

Therefore, Iowa State is asking the regents to approve room rate increases of about 6.5% and meal plan and flex meal package increases of 5% next year. For example, the proposed rate for a standard double room (no air conditioning) and the unlimited meal plan next year is $10,286, an increase of 5.76% or $560. Student leaders in the Residence Hall Association supported the proposed rates and actually requested an increase to the initial 5% proposal for room rates, too.

"We feel really fortunate to have a great relationship with our student leaders and look forward to working with them as we plan for future years," Harwood said.

The residence department offers multiple rates based on style of accommodation offered (standard room, suite or apartment), number of roommates and amenities such as private bathroom, kitchen, air conditioned, pet friendly or furnished.

As proposed, the door rate for meals at the dining centers also would go up about 5%, to $12.25 for breakfast (up 60 cents) and $15.75 (up 75 cents) for lunch and dinner.

Final approval of the proposed increases is scheduled for the board's April meeting.

New online master's program

Iowa State's new Master of Applied Statistics in the statistics department received final approval from the board. The 30-credit program will be offered through Iowa State Online beginning in spring 2025, emphasizing practical applications and experiences with current methodologies, including two credits for experiential/work learning. Full-time students could complete the program in 15 months, another distinction with the M.S. degree in statistics.

Increases to parking permits

The board received an ISU proposal to raise prices on employee parking permits 3% ($2-$32) on July 1. The additional revenue would be used to upgrade or maintain existing lots and upgrade equipment to provide better services. No changes are proposed to fines for parking violations.

Permits for the ramp at the Memorial Union, which is managed by the MU, not the parking office, also would go up about 3%, as proposed. No increases are proposed to the ramp's hourly rates or special fees (for example, the $10 late payment or $20 permit replacement fees).

The board will vote on the proposed increases at its April meeting.



Proposed FY2025


24-hour reserved






General staff*












Memorial Union ramp









    Winter (Nov-Feb)






*also residence, Ames Lab permits


DEI directives update

The board approved revisions to the Board of Regents Policy Manual as part of the process of implementing several of the 10 board directives that resulted from its eight-month review of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and offices at the three universities. Directives 4a, 4b, 5, 7 and 10 add language to the manual's chapters on admission requirements (prohibiting the use of race and other federal- or state-protected class characteristics) and freedom of expression:

  • Prohibiting any requirement for students, employees, job applicants or visitors to submit a DEI statement.
  • Prohibiting any requirement for students, employees, job applicants or visitors to disclose their pronoun.
  • Annually requiring the universities to issue guidance on separating personal political advocacy from university business or activity.

The board has asked for the universities' official responses to the 10 directives in time for its April meeting.

Decisions on Iowa State building projects

Iowa State received permission to begin planning on two construction projects using the construction manager at risk (CMR) project method, which shifts risk for staying on budget and on time to the CMR:

  • A series of additions, totaling about 17,000 square feet in three phases, to the large animal wing of the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center to expand reproductive services, primarily for horses, and equine sports medicine services, in response to the growing equine industry in Iowa. The estimated $12 million project budget will be covered by private gifts and university funds. Phase 1 will include additional equine ICU stalls, reproductive services, feed and bedding storage and shared storage. The second phase will include an embryo transfer lab, and phase three includes plans for an equine rehabilitation area.
    Regent Robert Cramer expressed concern about the CMR method for this project, saying he'd like to see the project opened to every interested bidder. The committee approved the proposal as submitted but reserved the right to reconsider CMR at the time it reviews a proposed budget and schematic design.
  • Two research facilities for aerospace engineering professor Partha Sarkar's team to study the impact of tornadoes, derechos and other severe downbursts of wind. As proposed, the first facility would be a prototype, approximately 1/20 the size of the second and built inside the west end of Howe Hall. The second will be a full-scale building, location not yet determined, up to 500 feet long and large enough to test wind impacts on structures larger than home. National Science Foundation grants would cover the estimated $83 million-$94 million costs of the two phases; Iowa State has received $14 million, $2 million of which will cover design and construction of the prototype facility.

The board approved the athletics department's $16 million proposal to replace the sound systems and all video displays at Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum. Work will occur in phases from fall 2024 to fall 2025 and also replaces the video board at the Lied Recreation Center, site of indoor track and field competitions, and video boards and sound system at the Cyclone Sports Complex, home to Cyclone soccer, softball and outdoor track and field. The project will be financed through the regents' master lease program (First American Bank) and repaid with athletics department revenue and gifts over 10 years.

The board approved an issuance of $12.28 million in ISU Facilities Corp. revenue bonds to cover the costs to renovate the east end of the ground and first floors in the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center. The project creates a flexible event space, renovates restrooms and adds new food and beverage service areas, branded for the athletics department. In September the board approved the project, which also upgrades the mechanical and electrical systems. Construction could begin this spring and continue through summer 2025.

Incorporated in 2015, the facilities corporation is a not-for-profit organization of the ISU Foundation to help maintain, develop and extend university facilities and services.