UI officials to raze a portion of the Field House


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University of Iowa students still using the Field House will eventually have to find a new entrance.

In order to accomodate the construction of the new UI Children's Hospital, officials plan to build a two-lane roadway through the present location of the Field House's "Main Street" entrance. The changes would also eliminate a small section of the building's south basketball courts.

Officials have yet to determine a specific cost for the demolition and road construction, though Recreational Services Director Harry Ostrander said the price will likely be several million dollars.

The project is just a part of plans to eventually eliminate the Field House entirely and move its operations to a space connected to the south end of the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

With the roadway through the Field House set for a completion date of June 2013, Ostrander said, Phase Two will be delayed.

"I think it would be great if in fact the hospital says that we can forgo this whole process and move into Phase Two," he said. "But that's money that's not available at the current time."

Rod Lehnertz, the UI Facilities Management director of plannining, design, and construction, said officials made the decisions after meeting with contractors and architects.

"As we endeavor to construct [the Children's Hospital] project, the consultants have identified the need to have two entrances to the hospital," Lehnertz said. "The traffic consultants found that without a way out of [the south main entrance of the hospital], it would create bottlenecks within traffic."

But he said students and patients would experience invonveniences with or without construction.
"Without [building the roadway] we could create inconveniences for people visiting the UIHC as far as those accessing the Field House itself." he said.

UI spokesman Tom Moore agreed traffic is a problem.

"The whole [reason for demolition of parts of the Field House] is to enhance accessibility for our patients and visitors," Moore said.

Even though hospital officials say that the roadway will fix inconveniences for patients, Ostrander acknowledged the construction period will create complications for students and Iowa City residents who utilize the Field House.

"There will be some inconvenience during the construction period," Ostrander said. "Hopefully, we'll come up with a solution that works for everyone during the planning period."

According to officials working on the project, the hope is that there will only be a four month planning period before starting construction.

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