Officials: New dorm construction won't disturb students

BY JOE HITCHON | JULY 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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Students living on the West Campus will face the sounds of concrete trucks and jackhammers for the next few years, yet University of Iowa Housing and Facilities Management officials say they are taking steps to minimize the disturbances that may come with the construction of the new residence hall.

UI Director of Housing and Dining Von Stange said there are rules and regulations construction workers must follow when working on the dorm that keep students in mind.

"One of the stipulations of the contract is not to allow work early in the morning, so that during the school year, students will not hear noisy construction equipment at 7 a.m.," he said. "We also try to make sure that the construction ends each day at a reasonable time. This slows down the construction schedule a little bit, but we've incorporated that into the timeline for getting this project completed."

The new residence hall will be located at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Byington Road.

Because the construction project is scheduled to continue for a prolonged period of time, steps have been taken to minimize the disturbance posed to students living in the dorms nearby. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2015.

The dorm is the first residence hall to be built on campus since 1968, and officials plan to serve 501 students. The new dorm will provide many modern design and educational concepts intended to meet students' expectations along with the university's sustainability policies.

The university has a $53 million budget for the new dorm and will plan on focusing much of its construction on living learning communities and additional amenities for students.

"The university has adopted a policy that calls for new construction or renovation to achieve LEED status," UI spokesman Tom Moore said.

The UI also plans to house students who are placed in expanded housing for the first few weeks of school to be assigned rooms in open floors on the opposite wing of the construction site so they are not disturbed as well.

"In the fall, we plan to limit any expanded housing for Rienow on the wing closest to the construction site," Stange said.

Because the construction will encompass the whole school year, officials have prepared schedules in advance for midterms and finals week by limiting construction so students are able to study.

"During finals week, any construction will be suspended so we don't disturb the students in the nearby residents halls when they're hunkering down to get some serious end-of-the-semester studying done," said Rod Lehnertz, the director of planning, design, and construction for Facilities Management.

Despite all of the precautions UI officials are taking, he said, some disturbances are inevitable in order to complete the project.

"But there is no doubt it is a construction zone and to get the work done, which will ultimately advance the university's objectives, you have to do some construction," he said.

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