Trowbridge Hall gets new labs, windows


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Three buildings along the west side of T. Anne Cleary Walkway have undergone renovations in the past few years, and the University of Iowa spent slightly more than a half a million dollars improving the walkway itself in 2012.

The latest of the three building projects, the Trowbridge renovation, includes remodeling some labs and office spaces, replacing all of the building’s windows, and improving the energy efficiency.

The project will cost an estimated $2.6 million.

Wendy Moorehead, the strategic communications manager for UI Facilities Management, said there are no specific plans tying together the projects along the walkway, which extends north from the Pentacrest, apart from ongoing modernization work.

“The university invests considerable effort in maintaining and modernizing its collection of buildings of historic age,” Rod Lehnertz, the director of planning, design, and construction for Facilities Management, wrote in an email.

The glass and glazed windows in every one of Trowbridge Hall’s 115 masonry openings are being replaced with around 8,200 square feet of curtain wall glazing, Moorehead said. The new windows will look similar to the recently replaced windows in the Chemistry Building and will cost approximately $1.1 million.

Work started on the window project on Feb. 28, and the expected completion date is Sept. 27, she said. Moorehead noted that the windows will be 72 percent more efficient then the existing windows.

UI sophomore Jake Lanagan, who studies biology, said renovating the building’s labs was a worthy cause.

“I think it’s worthwhile for research,” he said.

Trowbridge was built in 1918 to house the College of Dentistry. One of the rooms getting work done, Room 19, used to serve as the crown and bridge department, geoscience Professor Emeritus Phil Heckel said.

After the the Dental Science Building was constructed, the dentists moved out in 1973, the geologists moved in in 1974, and Heckel studied the history of the Earth in that room for the next 39 years.

Now, as Room 19 becomes one of two new labs for two new professors, the Geoscience Department will be renamed the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department.

Moorehead said the work in Room 19 will cost approximately $304,386. In addition to the lab, the room will ultimately include office space and a conference room. The other new lab, in Room 35, will cost around $45,308.

Work on Room 19 started Feb. 28, and will be completed July 27.

Emily Finzel, a UI assistant professor of basin analysis, will study sedimentary rocks in her new lab. This is the first academic position for Finzel after a stint working for Exxon-Mobile.

“The university has provided ample space and good technology,” she said.

The department received a large National Science Foundation grant for a new microprobe, Finzel said, and Room 26B is being modified to accommodate it.

One of the department’s secretaries described the microprobe as a $1 million piece of equipment.

Heckel, who is still doing research despite having retired two years ago, said he taught classes in 26B when it was a small classroom, but it’s now a high-powered geochemistry lab.

“There are instruments I don’t even know the name of in there, because I am the field guy,” he said.

The renovations in lab 26B will cost about $55,263, Moorehead said. Construction will start in August and finish in September.

The energy-conservation measures are still in the study phase and have no specific initiation or completion schedule, Moorehead said. They will cost about $1.1 million.

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