Board of Regents approves ISU’s planning of projects


Jen Hao Wong/Iowa State Daily

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter, speaks during the Faculty Senate Meeting on Jan. 21 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Danielle Ferguson

Iowa State’s requests to proceed with planning multiple projects were approved by the Board of Regents.

These projects include the Biosciences project, Jack Trice Stadium, Buchanan Residence Hall, Friley dining center and the Iowa State Center Flat Space.

The projects were approved to proceed with planning, but the university will come back again to the board for an additional approval.

Budget details and designing will proceed on the Biosciences project, which was declined by the governor last year. The project must make it through the Iowa legislative session. Warren Madden, senior vice president of Business and Finance, said that this might be in late February or early March. The budget then must receive the governor’s signature to officially be approved.

Madden presented the projects to the board. He said a hearing on the Biosciences facility is scheduled for next week.

Gov. Branstad is recommending $2 million of the fiscal 2015 budget for the project. Madden said the university is adjusting their budget through private fundraising and other resources.

“Since the governor is recommending [a budget] and if the House and Senate agree on the appropriations … we would expect he would sign again,” Madden said of the project’s approval process.

The Biosciences project includes a new research facility, a 42,000 square foot addition to Bessey Hall and the demolishing of a few outdated buildings.

Madden said there are about 450 faculty members and more than 6,000 students involved with the biosciences program.

The Jack Trice Stadium project is a more fast-tracked project, Madden said. The athletic department hopes to have the south end zone area ready by the 2015 season. Madden said the addition would bring the total number of seats to about 60,000.

The $60 million project has already received a $25 million lead donation from Roy and Bobby Reiman.

The request to proceed with the planning of the Friley dining facility has also been approved. The university will further look into budgets and design for the project.

Madden said the location is ideal because of the additional south-side campus housing and increased demand for food over the noon hour.

Students who live on campus are required to have a meal plan. There are about 4,000 additional voluntary meal plans this year, putting an additional demand on food services.

“Many offcampus students are purchasing meal plans,” Madden said. “We believe that will become another popular demand location to accommodate students.”

In response to an increased number of students interested in university housing, Iowa State has requested permission for another residence hall to be built adjacent to Buchanan Hall.

“The demand for housing is continuing to go up,” Madden said. “We’re now serving something like 11,270 students in university housing.”

There are about 430 students living in the temporary spaces — such as the dens — in residence halls.

The hall would accommodate an additional 700 beds. Madden said the university would like to fill those beds in late 2015 or early 2016.

“In 2005, we had 7,900 people on campus.” Pete Englin, director of the Department of Residence, said. “[There are] 7,171 residence hall beds currently available. We look to have at least 25 percent, hopefully [upperclassman residents], helping our freshmen transition.”

Englin said a leader in the graduate college has approached him about graduate students’ housing options.

Englin said there are currently 300 graduate students housed by the university, and there are about 5,000 students in the graduate college.

“[This person said] ‘you give us a specific kind of environment that doesn’t have an undergraduate influence, we’re there,’” Englin said.

The Iowa State Center Flat Space was also approved by the board, but it must make it past an Ames vote March 4. The $39 million project costs would be split almost half and half between the university and Ames. 

Madden said the Scheman building is in need of modernizing. The space would be used as a large banquet space, an area for career and job fairs, etc. for both Iowa State and the Ames community.

The university will continue with the budget and design process.