For a considerable team of project managers and construction site managers in facilities planning and management, the "quiet" summer months are an opportunity to make tracks on their bigger projects and squeeze in some contained-to-summer projects. Inside provides a quick look at a dozen or so projects starting, finishing -- or both -- this summer, with our thanks to the managers who shared their project updates with us.
Cyclone soccer field: New playing surface
The existing synthetic turf and rock drainage system have been removed, and installation continues on an irrigation system and gravel and sand underlayers (2) for a new grass competition field for the Cyclone soccer squad. Sometime in mid-July, sod grown at Iowa State's horticulture research station north of Ames will be cut, rolled and installed at the Cyclone Sports Complex. This process was piloted in May 2022 in Jack Trice Stadium. The soccer team will compete on its new field this fall.
The $1.5 million project includes drainage improvements to a soccer practice area southeast of the competition field.
ROTC obstacle course installation
Iowa State is installing an official U.S. Marine Corps obstacle course ("O" course) at the Southwest Athletic Complex for training use by ISU midshipmen, cadets and active-duty personnel. The 40-foot by 350-foot course contains seven major obstacles, up to 20 feet tall, built onsite by the contractor of timber, rope and pipes on a wood chip field. For safety and security reasons, the course will be fenced and identified with signage. Site preparation work began in May and the university will dedicate the facility in September. The $485,000 project includes a lead gift from math alumnus Rick Burnett Jr., and the course will be named in memory of his dad, Richard H. Burnett Sr., also an Iowa State alumnus. Other private gifts support this project.
Repairs to the exterior of Curtiss Hall
A summer project to repair and restore the exterior of Curtiss Hall is about 35% complete and will wrap up in early September. The work includes cleaning the stone and masonry, repairing or replacing cracked and deteriorated stone, repointing mortar and replacing the building sealant. The $505,000 project cost is covered by university capital renewal funds.
Memorial Union fountain and pool 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, and pool lighting will be replaced this summer, and the fountain's mechanical and electrical systems upgraded. Last week, crews removed seating and masonry over the pool basin so the pool's form can be 3D-scanned and rebuilt with historical accuracy.
Replicated sculptures of the four maidens and terra cotta ring, the fountain and new base and new pool will be completed and reassembled next spring and, following appropriate curing of the concrete and grout components, the fountain will be turned on for the first time since November 2022. The budget for the entire project is $2.6 million.
Wrapping up this summer
Marketplace dining center on Union Drive
A four-phase, $5.5 million project to renovate the various food preparation stations and seating areas of the largest dining center on campus, will wrap up by early August. The project began in the summers of 2019 and 2021 with remodels of the mezzanine and west dining area, respectively. Work this summer and last summer replaced food venues and the room finishes in the east dining areas.
Tree planting in football gameday RV lot
One hundred trees, representing about eight species selected by campus landscape architects for their compatibility with the Ioway Creek floodplain, have been planted in the parking area at the east end of the Gateway Bridge. This is the final piece of last summer's project to install a designated parking area for 337 recreational vehicles. This month, athletics also added a north-south bike path that runs from the South Fourth Street entrance to the RV lot to South 16th Street, where the path ties in to the city's bike path to the ISU Research Park.
West campus parking lot expansion
Parking lots 1 (south of State Gym) and 10 (west of Town Engineering) grew by about 60 stalls each to replace stalls in lot 3 (south of Howe Hall), the site of the under-construction Therkildsen facility. Lot 1 is complete and Lot 10 will be complete by Aug. 1. A related project to move Sheldon Avenue's intersection with Pammel Drive west to create space for a larger lot 10 was slowed by a soil quality question, but the intersection should be paved and ready to reopen by late July. These projects are part of the $70 million Therkildsen project budget.
Beginning this summer
Memorial Union: Remodeling on second and third floors
Previously two projects, these two remodels will proceed as a single project with one contractor and timeline, following approval from the state Board of Regents last week. Its two components are:
Near the west end of the second floor, the open area leading to Col. Pride Lounge, including the lounge itself, MU desk, former postal counter, restroom and several small offices will be opened up, modernized and furnished to serve multiple student needs for studying, eating meals, small group collaborating or just hanging out.
The top floor of the 1970s section of the building that connects the Memorial Union to its parking ramp will be remodeled for two student service units within the Dean of Students umbrella currently housed in the Student Services Building. Following demolition of existing interior dividers, each suite will include a kitchen, living room/lounge, staff offices, meeting rooms, computer lab and graduate student suite. DOS units also will have access to a larger event space for lectures or other programming, with room for about 60 people. The corridor connecting the ramp to the building will be redone to closely resemble the second-floor hallway below it.
Heating and cooling systems in both areas will be updated. The $6.55 million cost will be covered with university and MU funds. The bid date for contractors is July 18, and if it's successful, work would begin in August and conclude in August 2024.
Stephens Auditorium: A set of accessible restrooms
Eight single-user accessible restrooms will be constructed on the ground floor in the southwest corner of the building, and two existing ramps to reach this area will be redone. The offstage area being repurposed formerly was a workshop and storage for stage lights, so the project includes building a customized storage loft directly above the new restrooms to retain that access to the back of the Stephens stage. The scheduled bid date is June 29 and if it's successful, work could begin by late July and wrap up in mid-December. Private gifts and a federal grant for venue operators shuttered during the pandemic will pay for the $950,000 project.
Relocating textile research labs from LeBaron Hall
This project bid successfully last week and demolition could begin as early as July. It moves several textiles research labs on the first and second floors of LeBaron Hall to create three new shared labs on the second floor (north wing) of the adjacent Human Nutritional Sciences Building. The College of Human Sciences plans to replace LeBaron Hall, so relocating some of its critical facilities and programs begins that process.
The remodeled space will feature new walls, interior finishes, fume hoods and mechanical rooftop equipment, building automation controls and plumbing. The college will move two large pieces of equipment to the remodeled space: a comfort lab environmental chamber for assessing fabrics and a 3D body scanner. The $2.1 million cost is part of the LeBaron Hall replacement project budget.
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, phase 1
The first phase of a new home for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been under construction at the College of Veterinary Medicine since spring 2021 and is on schedule for occupancy by the end of the calendar year. The exterior is complete; painting and flooring work inside likely will continue into early September, at which point furniture and lab equipment -- some new, some from the current lab space -- will be installed.
Planning has begun for an estimated $66.5 million phase 2 to the lab, which will put all VDL operations in one facility. The 2023 Legislature approved $18 million in state support for it in fiscal year 2024, and in January, Gov. Kim Reynolds pledged $40 million in state support from funds directed to Iowa in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the U.S. Congress' third major pandemic recovery package.
CYTown parking and infrastructure, phase 1
The project will replace parking lots and lighting, and install underground utilities including water, electricity, gas, data and communications, storm sewer and sanitary sewer for future building development in the Iowa State Center south parking area. The project also relocates the CyRide transit facility permanently to the northeast corner of the lots along a north-south lot lane named CYTown Lane, and adds fill dirt to build up areas designated for buildings to ensure building pads are five feet above the 100-year flood elevation of nearby Ioway Creek.
The 16 numbered lots south of Center Drive have been reconfigured into 12 lots and numbered for consistency. All but two of them will be available for the 2023 football season. Five new lots (D3-5 and C4-5) will be completed by mid-August. Two lots (B4-5) will remain under construction this fall and completed next summer with the two remaining lots in phase 1 (A4-5). The remaining three lots (A3, B3, C3) would be addressed in a future phase 2. The $28.5 million cost of phase 1 will be covered by athletics department funds, university investment funds and private gifts.
Therkildsen Industrial Engineering Building
Work on the future home of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department began northwest of Beyer Hall in December 2022, and the building is scheduled to open in the spring of 2025. A poured concrete foundation and basement slab are in, and work on erecting the building’s steel framework will begin in July. 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 funds.
Converting last coal boiler to natural gas
The remaining coal boiler in the ISU power plant, which has 15-20 years of service left, is being converted for natural gas burning, a process completed last summer on the other coal boiler. Three natural gas boilers, installed in 2015, are sufficient for campus operations this time of year.
The coal and limestone-handling equipment has been removed, and crews currently are installing the gas burners and control systems for the boiler. These new instruments then will be tested for function and accuracy, with the goal of putting the converted boiler into operation in October.
All ash byproduct from burning coal and lime has been removed and that collection system can be removed after the construction team departs. Two nearby coal storage lots will be restored, likely in the 2024-25 timeframe. The $16 million cost is covered by ISU's utility reserve fund and an internal university loan.
Meeting June 14 in Iowa City, the state Board of Regents approved a list of bachelor's degree programs that train students for a set of high-demand jobs developed by Iowa Workforce Development to meet criteria in a piece of spring legislation (Senate File 560, Division VI). The 2023 Iowa Legislature created the Iowa Workforce Grant and Incentive Program, funded with a $6.5 million education appropriation, to encourage the state's public university students to pursue degrees that prepare them for high-demand jobs in the state. Using a matching process, board staff determined that Iowa State offers 69 unique degree programs that fit the criteria. The universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa offer 48 and 59 unique degree programs, respectively, that align with the high-demand jobs list.
The State Workforce Board also must approve the list of degree programs, and the Iowa College Aid Commission will implement the program, working with financial aid offices at the three universities. Beginning this fall, eligible students (including a demonstrated financial need) can receive $2,000 grants for up to three semesters, and an additional $2,000 payment if they accept a high-demand job aligned with their major within six months of graduation.
Tuition and fees increases
The regents unanimously approved increases to tuition and mandatory student fees for the 2023-24 academic year. At Iowa State, resident undergraduates will see a 3.5% increase ($304), and nonresident undergraduates and all graduate students will see a 4% increase. Professional students -- those enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program -- will see tuition increases of 3.8% (nonresidents) to 5% (resident students).
All Iowa State students will pay an additional $60 (4.1%) next year in mandatory fees, bringing total fees to at least $1,515. Students in specific programs pay a higher technology fee.
Student leaders from the three regent campuses had a chance to address the increases prior to the board vote.
Senior Jennifer Holliday, vice president of ISU student government, said solutions other than tuition hikes are necessary to solve the problem of the growing cost of a college education. She noted tuition has "continually increased since the turn of the century" while state support stagnated. The state risks running short on qualified workers for careers demanding a degree because fewer can afford college, she said.
Holliday pledged ISU student support to board members' efforts during the 2024 legislative session "to secure increased allocations from the state." Increasing tuition and fees is a short-term fix, she said, not a viable, long-term solution for the state's public university students.
Doctoral student Christine Cain, president of ISU's Graduate and Professional Student Senate, said rising tuition negatively impacts the diversity in the student body. It also puts pressure on graduates to chase the highest salary possible to whittle away at their debt, and that often means leaving Iowa.
She asked board members and university leaders to work together to explore alternative revenue options and pledged graduate student assistance for the task.
Clinical services incentive for Vet Med faculty
The board approved the College of Veterinary Medicine's request to add three years to a year-old pilot program intended to grow and expand veterinary clinical services offered to the state and region while financially rewarding the faculty who provide the veterinary medical doctor portion of the services. All faculty (tenured, tenure-track and term) who meet eligibility criteria may participate in the Veterinary Clinical Services Incentive Plan, which pays them 25% of the specific portion of professional fees generated from their time and expertise in the college's four service units (Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Veterinary Field Services). Payments will be made twice a year (January and July) and faculty may earn up to 20% of their base university salary. College leaders believe the program will be a useful tool for recruitment and retention.
Veterinary medicine faculty may participate in this program and the university's Faculty Incentive Salary Increment Program (which rewards high research grant volume) at the same time, though the combined incentive payments can't exceed 20% of their annual salary.
Vet Med building: Patterson Hall
The board approved the college's request to name part of the Vet Med complex for alumnus Frederick Douglass Patterson. Building areas included in Patterson Hall are the primary academic centers, classrooms, college administrative and academic department offices, research labs, library, main entrance and adjacent common spaces. It excludes the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center and nearby facilities on the Vet Med campus: the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Veterinary Field Services building and Veterinary Medicine Research Institute. This year, the college is celebrating the centennial of Patterson's graduation with the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine 1923 class.
Following its annual performance evaluation of President Wendy Wintersteen, board president Michael Richards announced a new employment contract for her covering July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2026. In June 2019, the board extended her contract through the end of this month. She has served as president since November 2017.
The board also established a fourth deferred compensation plan for Wintersteen that begins July 1 and ends Dec. 31, 2025, with an annual contribution of $415,000. The first two plans conclude June 30 and will pay her a combined $733,333. The third one, a $40,000 annual contribution for two fiscal years, pays $80,000 if she's still serving as president on June 30, 2024.
Wintersteen's salary will remain at $650,000 for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Other ISU business
The regents also approved Iowa State requests to:
- End the bachelor of science degree in biophysics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, due to low student interest, effective immediately. Students still can choose a biophysics specialization in the biochemistry B.S. degree. No faculty positions will be eliminated.
- Combine board-approved remodeling projects for the second and third floors of the Memorial Union into a single project with one contractor and construction schedule. The consolidation doesn't change the project budget of $6.55 million. Work will begin this summer and conclude in August 2024.
Oversight moves for K-12 deaf, blind student services
The June meeting marked the end of the board's oversight of the Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, both based in Council Bluffs. They had been part of the state Board of Regents' umbrella since 1953, but in Gov. Kim Reynolds' reorganization of state government, they'll become part of the Department of Education on July 1. Interim superintendent of both services John Cool cited more than 40 years of examples of board members personally stepping up to advocate for the services and the students served, and shared his concern he won't have those advocates after July 1.
"I thank you on behalf of our students, families and all of our employees," he said. "People can be leaders without being supportive, but you have really supported us. And you have an incredible staff in the board office."
Three Iowa State faculty members have received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar fellowship for the 2023-24 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. They're part of a group of more than 800 U.S. citizens who will teach or conduct research abroad through the program. Scholars, chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, also expand their professional networks.
Here's a short summary of each scholar's plans.
Jeff Bremer, associate professor of history, will serve as the Distinguished Scholar in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, from February to June 2024. The university is home to the largest center for English language studies in Europe. He will teach two U.S. history courses: the history of American capitalism and American political history, as well as mentor students, give talks and run workshops.
April Eisman, associate professor of art and visual culture who teaches art history, will spend eight months in Dresden, Germany, doing preliminary research for a book and co-teaching two courses on East German art at the Technical University Dresden. Her Fulbright research will focus on the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification on former East German artists across the 1990s and ending in 2001, the final year for the German mark (Deutschmark) before the euro was adopted. Her current project is "Adapting to Capitalism: The Impact of Reunification on East German Artists."
Javier Vela, University Professor of chemistry, will spend three months (April-June 2024) at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy. There he will work with Liberato Manna, a world-renowned expert in materials science and nanotechnology, and lay the groundwork for collaborations between Iowa State and the institute, including student exchanges. Vela's research focuses on preparation of complex optoelectronic materials made of multiple elements.
Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has been the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program. It's funded through an annual federal appropriation to the state department, whose Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs directs the program. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries provide additional funding.
The application period for the 2024-25 Fulbright competition is open now; learn more.
The Iowa State and Ames communities are preparing to host tens of thousands of cyclists July 25 for an overnight stop on the 50th anniversary of the Des Moines Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa, known as RAGBRAI ("RAG-bry").
The ride is still a month away, and local organizers continue to work with RAGBRAI officials on some of the finishing touches, but here's an overview of what you can expect when RAGBRAI rolls into town.
You're invited to attend one of two town halls meetings at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. June 22 (Ames City Hall council chambers, 515 Clark Ave.). Local RAGBRAI organizers will provide details and answer questions about the Ames overnight stop.
Cyclists will pedal the 83-mile route from Carroll to Ames on Tuesday, July 25. Luther is the last pass-through town of the day, and riders will approach Ames from the south on County Road R-38. Local organizers expect the majority of cyclists will arrive between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The route through Ames (see map below) will follow South Dakota Avenue north and head east on Mortensen Road. As cyclists approach campus, they will head north on Beach Avenue and access Jack Trice Stadium through the Reiman Gardens service entrance.
Similar to 2018 -- the last time RAGBRAI made an overnight stop in Ames -- Jack Trice Stadium will be part of the route. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., cyclists have the opportunity to ride along the stadium concourse and exit across the East Gateway Pedestrian Bridge. Different from past RAGBRAI visits, the 2023 route won't take cyclists through central campus.
Cyclists will leave Ames Wednesday morning, July 26, via the same route they entered, heading for Des Moines. Organizers expect most cyclists will leave Ames between 6 and 10 a.m.
Drivers, expect delays, detours
Employees who commute to Ames from the southwest likely will not be able to use 510th Avenue or U.S. Highway 210 in Story County July 25-26. Instead, motorists are advised to use U.S. Highway 69.
Discover Ames, which is leading the local RAGBRAI effort, needs hundreds of volunteers to host cyclists in their homes or backyards, assist with campground registration and monitoring, and provide support for the entertainment district along Main Street, along with other needs.
You can find more information and sign up this volunteer website. University employees interested in volunteering during work hours will need to take leave and arrange with their supervisor. Ames residents who can host cyclists overnight in their home or yard should register on a separate housing volunteer website.
Campground locations, showers
Cyclists not staying with a host family or at a hotel have the option to camp at a designated campground. Local organizers are still waiting for final approval from RAGBRAI officials, but have identified Brookside Park as the main campground, and Ames Middle School and North River Valley Park (East 13th Street) as secondary sites. Several campus locations also could be available for camping cyclists or support vehicles including:
- Grass lots south of the stadium and near the College of Veterinary Medicine
- Grassy areas east and south of the Towers residence halls
- Narrow field between Lied Recreation Center competition fields and College Creek
- RV lot east of Jack Trice Stadium
- Lots at the Iowa State Center
- Frederiksen Court overflow lot on Haber Road
Recreation services will offer access to State Gym and Lied Recreation showers and rec facilities for $10. Both locations will be open to cyclists from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Downtown: Entertainment district
Cyclists and local residents can enjoy live music on two stages and food trucks from 2 to 11 p.m. along Main Street on July 25. Hairball will headline the concert series and several local acts are scheduled to perform. The full schedule is online.