Pappajohn Biomedical building on schedule


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The latest building to dawn the University of Iowa’s Health Science Campus, reaching 10 stories high, will include a floor dedicated to diabetes research, high-end MRI equipment, and a café serving Java House coffee.

The Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building is set to be completed on June 16, and officials said the facility is projected to be beneficial to the UI, researchers, and patients.

“This building is a final piece of modernization that was started almost 15 years ago,” said Rod Lehnertz, the Facilities Management director of Planning, Design, and Construction. “It allows this noted college to excel not just because of the people … but also due to its top-notch facilities.”

The nearly $126 million facility is $7 million under the budget initially approved by the state Board of Regents, said Jim Henderson,an assistant dean of Medicine Administration. A competitive bidding climate allowed for a higher budget to be created, he said, enabling the project to be completed under the original estimate.

“Completing a building of this magnitude on schedule and within budget is a significant accomplishment and doesn’t happen very often,” Henderson wrote in an email.

The date for completion had been moved back two months to complete the top two floors of the building, he said.

Regardless of the readjusted end date, Robert Young, senior construction manager of the project, said there have been no other major issues that would cause delay to the development of the building.

“We’re still on track, and we have [no] reason we wouldn’t hit that [predicted date,]” he said.

A dedication ceremony has yet to be scheduled.

The university will seek LEED Gold certification on the building, which Henderson said would be “significant given the intense mechanical systems required for research.”

LEED recognition —Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is awarded to buildings designated as “green” facilities. This is one of many new UI projects, including the art and music buildings, which aim to achieve this goal.

Henderson said he hopes to see this building attract the best team of researchers from around the world. 

“Undoubtedly, this is as state of the art [as] you can get at this time,” he said. “You expect that research spins off, [and] we anticipate that there’s going to be … interaction among departments and faculty members.”

Lehnertz said he expects it to generate important research and ideas.

“When you build high-quality facilities that allow talented faculty and researchers to do their work most effectively, it attracts top talent, and I think that will be the case for this building.”

Along with providing prominent research, Lehnertz said, he thinks the building is a “skyline” feature at the UI.

“We look forward to what the building will mean to this campus,” he said. “The building [will be] historical on a number of fronts … both architecturally and with what important research will occur in the building.”

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