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Hancher move to give some students jobs

BY MICHAEL DALE-STEIN | MAY 06, 2009 7:30 AM

UI freshman Kevin Mortell said he expects to get dirty.

The UI’s quest to relocate Hancher Auditorium complex will provide several summer jobs, officials said — ones UI student workers said will be tiring, muggy, and dirty.

The state Board of Regents unanimously agreed to relocate the Hancher complex at its April 30 meeting.

Students contracted to help clear out the auditorium said they will work for 11 weeks — until the last day of July — moving equipment to the UI’s Studio Arts Building, where it will sit until officials decide where to build the new facility.

“The bulk of [the work] involves taking down equipment in Hancher and relocating it,” Mortell said. “From my understanding, it will be strictly theater equipment that will be reused.”

Mortell also said he and his coworkers will receive checks every two week, totaling $3,960 in compensation, even if they fail to meet the July 31 deadline.

The relocation of the Hancher complex will cost an estimated $114 million, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency footing 90 percent of the bill. In total, campus flood-recovery projects are expected to cost roughly $743 million.

Mortell said he is happy to help with flood-recovery efforts at the UI.

“It’s unfair students with certain majors don’t have all the opportunities they should,” he said.

Another member of the crew — UI sophomore Nate Nielsen — said along with moving files and relocating equipment, the crew will be responsible for setting up a couple of Hancher plays throughout the summer in different locations.

UI officials are considering eight potential locations to construct the new Hancher complex, ranging from Hubbard Park to the Hawkeye Marching Band’s field.

The chosen location needs to be accessible to UI community members by providing adequate parking space and being close to campus, said Gary Wicklund, a member of the Hancher Guild — an organization composed of volunteers who have donated time and energy to the auditorium.

The former UI faculty member taught in the UI College of Business for 20 years and continues to participate in the university community after leaving the college in 1988.

“I am very supportive of the opportunity for students to be involved [in the Hancher recovery],” he said, and exposing students to the Arts Campus is an important part of the college experience.

UI student Kevin Harris, who also landed the summer job, said he hopes students displaced by the flood can have adequate space as quickly as possible.

“I am ready to put in a lot of hard work for the sake of the university,” he said. “I am sure my friends and the other crew members feel the same way.”


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