IMU construction keeps pace

BY EFE AYANRUOH | APRIL 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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The proposed opening date for the IMU ground floor is set for June 1.

“So far, on the interior, we are about a week out from substantial completion,” said Cory Lockwood, the IMU associate director of event and facility operations.

An official grand opening for the project is planned for the first week of the next academic year.

After the flood in 2008, which damaged much of the IMU — especially the ground floor — a flood-mitigation project was formed.

So far, everything is on schedule, said Wendy Moorehead, the strategic communication manager for UI Facilities Management. The construction cost for the entire IMU flood-mitigation and permanent recovery project is $21.6 million, she said.

Work on the exterior-northeast and south elevation is ongoing and should be completed this spring. Completion of the west elevation is expected to be completed this summer.

Although the major part of the construction will be over, more still needs to be done such as polishing floors and moving the bookstore back to the ground floor.

For the exterior, the north, east, and south will be done in a month. These consist of the construction of a floodwall and a new north entrance. The west side should be done in midsummer.

The remade ground floor will house several resources.

“I think for the past seven years, it’s been kind of unfortunate because we’ve almost gone through two generations of students who haven’t really gotten to feel that vibrancy down there,” Lockwood said. “The one positive thing though is that students have found the upper floors, which consists of the meeting rooms, which have seen more traffic in the past eight years.”

The Iowa Hawk Shop and Tech Connections will both be moved into one space in the basement. The Java Hawk will also be moved downstairs, as will Hills Bank and Union Market Station Food Court.

Plans to provide two regional vendors to provide pizza and sandwiches are in progress.

The Hawkeye, a “hangout space,” will come back with TVs on the wall. There will also be space provided for group study.

Several students are excited about enjoying the new space, because this will provide them a place to nap in between classes.

“I would definitely utilize this area,” UI freshman Onyeka Anikamadu said. “Living in Mayflower is somewhat of a hassle. When I have an hour or two-hour break, I often find myself finding random places to crash because going all the way back to Mayflower is pretty time consuming. When I crash, I’m also somewhat hungry as well, so having a food court and a dimly lit room in proximity is a brilliant idea, and I feel that those who live farther from their classes will make use of this space for sure.”

Spaces created by the relocation of services on the main floor will go back to their previous functions.

The space that housed the Java Hawk will go back to being a lobby. The Hills Bank site will return to being a Welcome Center. The space currently occupied by the Union Market will revert to a meeting room.

Also, an outdoor seating venue has been constructed that will seat approximately 100 people. This space will go right off the River Room on the west side of the building.

One student said the new additions could influence her academic performance.

“I am actually excited to hear about it because this semester, I’ve suffered a lot finding a place to rest my head for a while before I go to my next class,” UI freshman Mercy Kimaliny said. “I can’t explain how helpful this will be. I just know I would definitely perform better in school.”

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