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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 28, 2010 7:30 AM

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UI shouldn’t convert Iowa House

Since the state Board of Regents’ vote on whether to convert the Iowa House Hotel into a dorm is Thursday, our voice on this issue is urgent. The conversion is a temporary solution. It would not save money and not be convenient or good for people visiting the university, such as guest lecturers.

Building a new dorm would cost $60 million, while converting the Iowa House would only cost $9.25 million. It seems the conversion is a better idea. However, considering that many firms spend huge amounts of initial costs to build a new factory for future profits — because firms do not seek a temporary solution, but take a long view — university officials should also give up the idea of converting the Iowa House and build a new dorm. In addition, the new building could attract more new students, which would help the university increase enrollment.

Officials should take a long-run view because converting is only a short-term solution, even though it may take a little shorter time than building a new dorm. Spending $9.25 million to convert the Iowa House and then in few years, spending millions more to build a new dorm is like spending twice. It does not save money. University officials should make a serious effort to build more rooms once and for all to save future trouble.

In addition, UI International Writing Program Director Christopher Merrill said the Iowa House Hotel change would be a “disaster,” and Alex Metcalf, who heads the UI Lecture Committee, said that change brings difficulties for those who rely on the Iowa House. Because of the inconvenience that a new facility would bring in terms of reservations, transportation, and environment, converting the Iowa House could trigger discontent among guests and risk losing significant visitors.

To solve the problem in the long term, the university should invest money in a prudent way to attract more students and valued guests.

Xiao Bai
UI student

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