UIHC research wing named in honor of Dance Marathon


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Oversized gold scissors snipped a lime-green ribbon to mark the result of University of Iowa Dance Marathon’s largest single monetary contribution.

Officials dedicated the UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Research Laboratories during a ceremony April 8, celebrating the completion of medical-facility renovations. Dance Marathon funded the entire $1 million project.

Tom Scholz, the interim director of UI Children’s Hospitals, said the key for fully taking advantage of this gift is collaboration.

Much of the old lab space didn’t “fit really in the flow and management of current science approaches,” he said. The old facilities confined researchers to small rooms, which was not conducive to sharing ideas, he said.

“The goal is to have a collaborative environment, a rich, nurturing, and interactive environment,” Scholz said in an interview before the ceremony.

The dedication ceremony was the first time the finished facility was open to the public.

( Daily Iowan video feature )

Video in QuickTime format, click here for free player download

“I feel like we were here yesterday with all the rundown equipment,” said UI senior Colette Forcier. “To come back and see it actually built, it’s crazy.”

Laptops displaying slide shows of pre-renovation and demolition photos sat on crisp gray countertops during the dedication.

One highlight of the new facility is its open environment. Officials said the old facilities were aged, with an outdated electrical system, ventilation, and lack of counter space. The evolution of research methods was a main reason for the renovation.

Janice Staber, a pediatric physician in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Immunology, agreed.

“Space is key,” she said. “If you don’t have space, you can’t do research.”

UI senior Kristen Sandberg, a member of the Dance Marathon allocations board, said events such as the dedication “put a face to what the leaders of Dance Marathon do.”

Although small renovations had been completed throughout the years, the labs needed an overhaul that would allow the physical facility to catch up to new research techniques. So last year, Staber presented the renovations in a Dance Marathon allocations meeting.

Officials spent $750,000 on renovations — plumbing, ventilation, electrical work, countertops, and up-to-date materials, said 2011 Dance Marathon Executive Director Kyle Walters. The remaining $250,000 of the donation was for start-up money for additional research, kept intentionally vague to give researchers the latitude to explore in different directions, Scholz said.

The renovation was a benchmark because, in previous years, Dance Marathon focused more on the financial and emotional aspects of cancer care — such as covering copays and funding family trips, Walters said.

“To be able to sit on an allocation committee and essentially write a check for a million dollars was a unique and awesome experience to have at the age of 23,” Walters said. “To be able to spend it was really fun.”

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.