Summer = construction opportunity

Fountain base and green pool basin surrounded by white fence

Once its new pump mechanics are programmed, the fountain on the north lawn of the Memorial Union will run for a 30-day test before the replicated maiden sculptures are set on their four platforms in early August. (That's rainwater in the bottom of the basin this week.) Christian Petersen's iconic Fountain of the Four Seasons sculpture was dismantled in November 2022. Photo by Christopher Gannon.


With a smaller student body on campus, summer typically brings a noticeable uptick in construction and maintenance projects. Inside worked with project managers and others involved in renovations to provide short summaries for some of the more visible projects around campus in the next few months.

Wrapping up this summer

Memorial Union: Remodeled areas on floors 2 and 3

Finishing work is slightly ahead of schedule and should wrap up by the end of June, when construction walls will be removed from the two construction areas, with technology and furniture installation to follow.

The top floor of the east, 1970s section of the building has been remodeled for three student service units within the Dean of Students umbrella currently housed in the Student Services Building. The area includes a larger event space for lectures or other programming, where students can hang out when no events are scheduled. The corridor connecting the building to the parking ramp was redone to resemble the second-floor hallway below it.

Near the west end of the second floor, the open area leading to Col. Pride Lounge, including the lounge itself and the MU desk, has been opened, modernized and furnished to serve multiple student needs for studying, eating meals or just hanging out. The area includes eight small group collaboration areas with wall monitors students can synch with their laptops. This area should be ready for use when fall semester begins.

Heating and cooling systems in both areas were updated. The $6.55 million cost will be covered with division of student affairs and MU funds.


Memorial Union north lawn: Pool and fountain replacement

Part of a larger project to replicate Christian Petersen's famed Fountain of the Four Seasons sculpture on the Memorial Union north lawn, its concrete pool, fountain base, mechanical pit and tunnel, electrical system and pool lighting were replaced.

This week, a team is programming the fountain pumps. When that process in complete, the fountain will be turned on for a 30-day test run.

Four new limestone maiden sculptures, currently being carved in a Vermont studio, are due to arrive on campus the first week of August. Assisted by a crane, art conservator Francis Miller and his team will set the sculptures and the terra cotta panels between them. While the grout that secures the sculpture on their pedestals cures (at least 30 days), crews will add a final coat of forest green to the fountain basin. Green was Petersen's color choice in 1941 when the original sculpture was added to a four-year-old fountain and pool. Petersen was the nation's first permanent artist-in-residence at a college or university.

A decision about when to begin using the fountain -- this fall or next spring -- will be made after fall semester begins. Thorough curing of grouts and mortars on the fountain and basin is a top priority.

The project is funded by the office of the president.


CYTown: Underground infrastructure and parking lots

The first of a multi-phased plan to develop a multi-use entertainment district, CYTown, this phase provides underground utility infrastructure (stormwater and sanitary sewers, water, electrical and telecommunication lines)and new parking surfaces. With fill dirt, this phase also raises a central, north-south corridor so buildings and other facilities will be five feet above Ioway Creek's 100-year flood plain. The project also will replace the CyRide transit hub.

Work has been ongoing since February 2023 and is scheduled to be completed by the first day of fall classes (Aug. 26). The exception is lot B5, which is adjacent to the proposed site of a McFarland Clinic healthcare facility. McFarland could begin that construction later this summer, pending approval of its agreement with the university at the state Board of Regents' June meeting.

This $37.7 million project is paid for with athletics department funds, university investment funds and private gifts.


Permanent traffic lights on a busy corner

The temporary traffic lights at the Mortensen Road-State Avenue intersection southwest of campus are being replaced. Construction is about 30% complete and should wrap up in August before fall semester begins.


Contained to summer

Farm House Museum exterior improvements

The oldest campus building (1860), the Farm House is getting a new cedar shingle roof this month, installed the old-fashioned way: with nails and hammers. Crews also will repair and paint exterior wood components, such as small sections of wood siding and porch floorboards and balusters.

This work began May 15 and is weather-dependent for completion. The Farm House Museum is scheduled to reopen June 10.

The $202,000 project is covered in part by a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs' Historic Resource Development Program.


Seasons Marketplace kitchen renovation

This project updates behind-the-scene kitchen areas at Seasons Marketplace, the dining center in the east side Maple Willow Larch residence commons. It includes new flooring, ceiling and lighting throughout the space and replacing or adding appliances and stainless steel work surfaces. The project also adds a high-density shelving system and reconfigures the layout for greater efficiency, and remodels employee restrooms. The dining room and food serving stations aren't impacted by this project.

Work will begin May 27, with the goal of wrapping up by the end of July. The $2.45 million cost is covered by an ISU dormitory bond sale.


College of Design office updates

Approximately 95 faculty and staff offices on five of six floors in the College of Design building will be emptied and updated this summer. Work has begun and is scheduled to conclude by Aug. 15 to give employees time to move back in advance of fall semester. The improvements include paint, carpet, new office doors and office furniture, and new window shades for offices facing the atrium. This phase of office remodeling doesn't include the building's first floor.

This upgrade is part of the college's multiyear study to allocate space to departments, so faculty won't necessarily return to their previous offices. It will create single and double-occupancy offices as well as reservable rooms -- at least one on each floor -- all faculty and staff can use for activities such as small group collaborations, meetings with students or individual video conferencing. The project also creates a storage space for large-scale teaching tools so faculty don't have to keep those in their offices.

College funds will cover the $1.5 million project budget.


Cyclone softball field: Grass replacement

This project will replace the 14-year-old grass outfield with sod grown at the ISU horticulture farm north of Ames. During that process, drainage tiles will be cleaned and irrigation water heads replaced. The gravel warning track surrounding the playing field also will be removed and replaced. The two-week project will begin around June 1, and athletics department funds will cover the $160,000 cost.


Starting this summer

McKee Indoor Tennis Complex remodel

With the Cyclone tennis team moving to a facility in the ISU Research Park, its seven-year-old training facility on South Dakota Avenue in west Ames is being converted to a home for the Cyclone volleyball program, which currently is based at Hilton Coliseum.

Because the volleyball roster includes more student-athletes than the tennis team's, existing locker, training and team rooms will be demolished and larger ones constructed. A new mezzanine level creates space for volleyball coach offices. The practice facility will feature two courts with a rubber athletic floor.

Demolition will begin by the end of May and work should be substantially completed early in spring semester 2025. Athletics department funds will cover the $4.2 million cost.


LeBaron Hall

A 2+-year project to replace LeBaron Hall will get underway around July 1. It will close a short section of Morrill Road for the duration of the work and alter traffic rules on Morrill south of the closure.

Scheman Building: East end remodel on two floors

Reflecting Cyclone fan interest in Johnny's at Hilton Coliseum, this remodel will create additional social spaces next door for use prior to competitions and at halftime. The spaces also will improve the experience of groups that rent Scheman for professional and social events.

Demolition began last week on the theater-style Benton Auditorium. In its place, a level-floored event room will feature a slightly raised small stage on one side. Access to this room remains where it was to the auditorium, on the first floor. Ground and first-floor restrooms will be remodeled, as will the food service area and a northeast corner room on the first floor. The project includes new flooring, lighting, video boards and Cyclone branding. It will upgrade mechanical and electrical infrastructure in the impacted areas.

Late December is the targeted completion date. ISU Facilities Corp. bonds will finance the $12 million project.


Administrative Services Building: Repairing water damage

A team from facilities planning and management and risk management has worked this spring with stakeholders to review and document the necessary water damage repairs in the Administrative Services Building caused by a burst water pipe in mid-January. The goal is to complete the repair work, including some furniture replacement, by the end of fall semester. Employees who worked in ASB were relocated to a handful of campus locations or are working remotely.


Veterinary Diagnostic Lab: phase 2

Earth-moving work began last week on a $66.5 million second wing at the VDL on the College of Veterinary Medicine campus. Phase 1 opened in mid-March. When phase 2 is completed, estimated for late fall 2026, all functions of the VDL will be under one roof. The phase 2 wing is about 85% of the size of the first phase and will feature similar laboratory spaces for different functions of the VDL. It also will include the administrative offices for the lab. Conference rooms and employee break spaces included in phase 1 will service the entire facility.

  • Phase 1 sections: Client services, receiving/accessioning, sample processing, incinerator, necropsy, pathology, histopathology and bacteriology
  • Phase 2 sections: Molecular diagnostics, genetic sequencing, virology, serology, analytical chemistry, toxicology, biosafety level 3 lab, diagnostic research and development, information technology and quality assurance

Funding comes from dollars directed to Iowa in the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and pledged last winter by Gov. Kim Reynolds ($40 million), an $18 million state appropriation (Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund) this fiscal year, college funds ($6.5 million) and private gifts ($2 million).


Continuing beyond this summer

Friley Hall restroom remodel

This project, over several years and in nine phases or "stacks" (all floors in a vertical building section) will replace the residence hall's community shower and toilet areas with individual rooms containing a shower and toilet for accessibility and better privacy. In addition to new flooring and plumbing fixtures, the work updates the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and lighting systems in the restroom areas. Friley Hall is home to 1,220 students.

The second phase, in the building section surrounding the Friley arch, began in January and will be completed in August. The next two phases, impacting the building sections just east of the arch, are scheduled to conclude by December 2024 and July 2025, respectively. The residence department is experimenting with strategies for continuing the work year-round with the least impact on students who live in Friley.

When the state Board of Regents approved the project in spring 2021, the budget was $17 million, to be paid with dormitory system improvement funds.


West construction site: Therkildsen Building

Work on the future home of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department northwest of Beyer Hall began in December 2022 and remains on schedule for completion by the end of fall semester, with lab equipment, IT and furniture installation to follow.

Inside, crews are installing utilities infrastructure, including heating/cooling ductwork, bathroom plumbing, conduit runs, cable trays and the building's fire safety system. Wall framing is nearly complete on all floors and drywalling has begun. Office window installation also has begun.

The building is five levels (four above ground), with the basement and half of the top floor designated for mechanical and storage. The $70 million project is covered with private gifts, including a $42 million lead gift from alumni C.G. "Turk" and Joyce Therkildsen, and university and college funds.