Regents approve Currier renovations


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University of Iowa students will no longer have to suffer the August heat in their dorm rooms following one of numerous upcoming capital projects approved by the state Board of Regents.

The regents voted in favor of five UI proposals at their telephonic meeting Wednesday. Among them, UI officials called for a $3.2 million renovation of Currier Residence Hall.

“Not unlike any of our other residence halls, we continue to modify and modernize those halls so that they remain usable and viable for the students on campus,” said Rod Lehnertz, the director of design, planning, and construction for the UI Facilities Management.

The plan calls for improvements to the third and fourth floors of the centenarian residence hall. In addition to new carpeting, paint, furniture, and so on across the floors, each room will receive high-efficiency air-conditioning units.

The project will be phased out over several summers and paid for with dormitory-improvement funds.

UI students reacted to the news positively, particularly about the air conditioners.

“Getting some renovations would be nice,” said UI sophomore Amanda Marsh, who lives in Currier. “My room doesn’t have air conditioning, and in the summer, it gets awful. It would be nice to feel comfortable where you’re living.”

UI freshman Maya Branch agreed.

“I think it’s a good idea because I have a friend who lives on the fourth floor, and she doesn’t have an air conditioner, so she is suffering when it’s hot outside,” she said. “They block the windows up there because she lives by the balcony, so she can’t even open her window, so it’s just really hot and humid in there and nasty.”

In addition to the Currier proposal, regents also supported the continuation of the UI’s plan to raze the old Iowa City water plant.

Previously estimated to cost $1 million to $1.5 million, the final plan rings in at $2.35 million, funded with income from the UI treasurer’s temporary investments.

UI officials hope to use the site to build a new residence hall. Located on Madison Street, Lehnertz said an alternative entrance to a nearby parking ramp will be available and street traffic will not be affected.

Additionally, regents signed off on a $10 million Riverside Drive/Grand Avenue steam-tunnel system replacement project and a $3.8 million plan to install a utilities line along Finkbine Commuter Drive.

Finally, the regents also voted to allow UI Hospitals and Clinics to go ahead with planning a future $39 million pediatric specialty clinic expansion, expected to be funded with hospital building-use funds.

“This is a vital component of our overall development of pediatric and children’s programs,” John Staley, UIHC senior associate director, said during the meeting. “The new clinic will tie directly into the Children’s Hospital on the second floor, which will enable us to overcome a roadblock which we are essentially experiencing now because we have some of the facilities within the current clinic, and it is constraining the ability to grow at this point.”

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