Forker to be third renovation for College of Human Sciences


Emily Matson/Iowa State Daily

Duck-Chul Lee’s, assistant professor of kinesiology, current research area is located in Forker. Right now, it takes up space that usually is used for classes. Once renovations for his new lab are complete, he will have his own space to perform research.

Vanessa Franklin

The Forker Building, which is known for teaching students how to shape-up the human body, will be getting a makeover of its own.

The Iowa Board of Regents unanimously approved the $5.3 million renovation of Forker, home of the Department of Kinesiology.

The renovation aligns with the college’s goal to improve its spaces on campus. The latest renovation comes after renovations in Lagomarcino Hall and MacKay Hall.

The renovation will take place in two phases, with the first focusing on the transforming an outdated locker room into a facility for research. The second phase will include creation of new office spaces, installation of new windows and installation of air conditioning in the old part of the building.

“It’s an exciting time for any area when they have the opportunity to improve their facilities,” said Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, director of operations for the College of Human Sciences. “We know bricks and mortar isn’t what makes a program, but certainly an environment conducive to teaching, learning and research is our goal. When we work on renovations there’s always a bigger picture, we’re not just making beautiful buildings.”

According to the College of Human Sciences website, the Department of Kinesiology is the third largest major in the university, closely behind pre-business and mechanical engineering.

“Our Department of Kinesiology has grown astronomically in the past seven years,” said Robin Shook, assistant professor of kinesiology. “We are always the second or third largest program on campus, so that’s pretty impressive. We’ve had this tremendous growth over a short period of time and we need to improve our facilities to keep up with that increase in undergraduate students.”

In accordance with growing enrollment, Plagman-Galvin said the renovations will create more space for new faculty in order to meet the department’s growing need.

“Iowa State is able to attract phenomenal faculty when we have excellent facilities for them to teach and research in,” Plagman-Galvin said. “So in order to be a top-tier kinesiology department, we need to have the facilities to attract faculty that will be best for our students.”

Shook and Duck-Chul Lee, an assistant professor, will directly benefit from the first phase of renovations, giving them and their colleagues a place to take their research to the next level.

Lee, who conducts research on exercise equipment in Forker’s large gym, said that both he and his research participants are anxious to move in their new space, which is currently being renovated.

Lee’s research focuses on the benefits of resistance exercise in comparison to those of aerobic exercise. Lee said having his own space will give his participants more privacy, especially when it comes to measurements.

“If we can use a different place, we can have more participants and they won’t be disrupted by other programs or class going on in the gym,” Lee said.

Shook said the renovations will help the entire department to do its jobs in a more economical and efficient way.

Faculty will not be the only ones to benefit, but students will have a lot to earn from the new and improved building.

Not only will air conditioning make for a more comfortable learning environment for students in the summer, but students working alongside faculty will also have the chance to use the new research facilities.

“I can’t do all [my research] and assessments by myself,” Lee said. “I have graduate and undergraduate research assistants, so once I have my own lab, I can have meeting with students, whereas before I couldn’t do that.”

Renovations are slated to be complete in 2017.