Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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UISG mulls fee

The University of Iowa Student Government on Tuesday decided to continue the debate on whether to endorse a raise in the UI cultural arts fee.

The legislation proposed an increase of $5 per student, bringing the cultural arts fee from $12 to $17 each semester. This will increase funding to $350,000 per year.

The money is used to pay for production, labor, and other expenses necessary for putting on performances.

Alan MacVey, the director of the UI Division of Performing Arts, spoke with UISG at the beginning of the meeting, urging the members to consider endorsing the legislation.

He noted that funding for performing arts decreases annually, while the need for more money increases.

Upon voting on the endorsement of the cultural arts fee, UISG senators were reminded to consider the importance of proposed fee increases and to vote to endorse only those that seemed necessary for the UI’s well-being.

MacVey said compared with other Big Ten schools, the UI has the lowest student ticket prices for arts events.

Voting on whether to endorse increasing the cultural arts fee was tabled until the next UISG meeting.

- by Rachel Green

Bank shows off history

On Sept. 5, MidWestOne Bank saw the removal of scaffolding and the reveal of new cornices, ornamental features, around the top of the building that are reminiscent of the original building design in 1912.

Construction so far is on schedule and within the budget, the bank’s Executive Vice President Kent Jehle said.

In June, the building’s top three floors were completed with modern finishes while maintaining the integrity of the building’s history.

The final project will showcase the importance of the preservation of historical buildings in downtown Iowa City, Downtown District Director Nancy Bird said.

The renovations bear efficiency in mind with automatic lights and desks that can be elevated electronically for ease of use.

“I think they've done a great job maintaining the character of the original building and mixing it in with all of the fittings of a modern facility,” said Jeff Davidson, the city economic-development director.

Founded in 1934, MidWestOne Bank has had its headquarters in Iowa City for 80 years.

Over the years, the bank has seen several updates. With the building being on the National Historic Register, it has been important to restore the historic character of the building.

For the fourth through sixth floors, construction crews were able to reuse materials at a rate of 70 percent, Jehle said.

The bank plans make its summer 2016 deadline for the completion of the basement, lobby, second, and third floors as well as its 1984 addition.

MidWestOne also plans to complete construction of a branch bank in River Crossings in June 2015.

— by Christian Hahn

Regents give thumbs up to new dorm

AMES — A new dorm will soon rise in Iowa City.

Officials requested at the state Board of Regents’ meeting in Ames on Tuesday that the board approved a new 800-bed residence hall costing $80 million to $90 million. It would be built on the site of the old Iowa City Water Plant, west of the north campus parking ramp on Madison Street.
Officials are still debating whether to expand Burge dining hall at a cost of $10 million to $12 million or to include dining facilities in the new dorm.

Petersen Residence Hall on the West Side is due to be completed by the fall of 2015.

Hospital ramp budget revised

AMES — A new University of Iowa parking ramp has cost more than officials expected.

Officials requested approval for a revised budget for the UI Hospitals and Clinics parking ramp 2 replacement, which was granted.

It was originally set to cost $66.2 million, but that figure has increased to $75.8 million. The change results from several unanticipated design changes as well as delays from extreme winter weather.

The UIHC will provide cash to the parking system to cover the increase.

— by Chris Higgins

Regents back Hawkeye Court demolition

AMES — Hawkeye Court is no more.

Regents agreed to allow the University of Iowa to remove the remainder of the Hawkeye Court graduate-student apartment complex from its housing system.

It has stood empty ever since a portion was demolished to make way for the new Aspire at West Campus graduate-student complex, which officials have deemed a success.

Construction company Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions has decided to exercise its option to construct, own, operate, and maintain Phase II of the Aspire project. The university anticipates an agreement will be completed by the spring of 2015.

Nineteen buildings with 180 apartment units total will be demolished.

Regents OK Coralville property deal

AMES — The state Board of Regents voted to approve a University of Iowa request to purchase two Coralville properties on Tuesday.

Officials said both the university and private buyers have looked into the property for years. The UI does not have an immediate use for the properties, which together cost $1.45 million.

It has paid $25,000 in good faith money to the owners and will now spend an additional $100,000 to that end with regent approval within 45 days.

The properties are located at 707 First Ave. near UIHC River Landing Clinic and the Marriott Hotel. They currently house a motel with an adjoining parking lot.

The university will not close on the deal for two years, officials said.

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