Board of Regents agenda: Flood progress, $2M robot, ed program cut

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 01, 2012 7:20 AM

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University of Iowa officials are closer to completing plans to rebuild Hancher Auditorium.

By next month, university leaders expect to have final designs for Hancher as well as new music and art buildings, according to a UI report released this week. By March, the UI will ask the state Board of Regents to give final approval to the Hancher project.

Hancher and a slew of other university buildings were destroyed by record flooding in 2008, forcing Hancher's performances elsewhere.

"This has not affected any productions being put on — they are continuing to bring in Iowa City's best performers and audiences," said Jacob Yarrow, the Hancher programming director.

University officials announced earlier this year that they had secured $106 million in federal funding to replace Hancher, the music facilities, and the Art Building. That's in addition to $55 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency had already committed to UI flood-recovery projects.

— by Asmaa Elkeurti

UI officials will request approval for the purchase of a $2.2 million surgical robot at next week's regents' meeting, to be held in Ames.

The Da Vinci robot would allow surgeons to make precise cuts during surgical procedures, officials said in the regent packet released Tuesday.

Officials said the purchase of the surgical robot is essential to the growth of the robotics surgery program at the UI Hospitals and Clinics, which now utilizes two of its three surgical robots.

Equipment purchases of over $1 million require the regents' approval.

— by Alison Sullivan

Construction on the UI Children's Hospital is slated to begin in October, according to a UI presentation to be given to the regents at their meeting next week.

The presentation outlines long-term plans for the facility, including two new towers that will one day house patient rooms and expanded parking ramps. The presentation includes the changes in the facility's initial site on the north side of the hospital, which has since been changed to the west side of the medical facilities.

Plans for the new facility remain in the design stage, which, once completed, will be brought back to the regents for approval.

The new Children's Hospital is expected to open between 2015-2016.

— by Alison Sullivan

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