Core Values

   Land Use

   Land Use
   Open Space

   Pedestrian-oriented Campus
   Vehicle System
   Parking Standards
   Drop-Off/Short Term Parking
   Open Space System
   Pedestrian/Vehicle Conflicts
   Campus Entrances
   Visual Corridors
   Potential Building Sites
   Design Guidelines/
      Pre-Design Checklist
   Replace Floor Area Ratio
   Preserve and Protect National
      Register of Historic Places
         Buildings, and Sites
   Identify, Preserve & Protect
      Other Historic Buildings & Sites
   Maintenance Plan
   Campus Statistics
   Hawkins Drive Improvement
   West Campus Loop Road
   Functional Area Recommendations
      Old Capitol
      University Services
      East Residence Halls
      Iowa Center for the Arts and
         the International Center
      Health Sciences/Hospital
      West Residence Halls
      South Melrose
      Far West
      Oakdale Campus
   East, West, & Far West Campus

   The Role of the Campus Planning
   The Role of the Campus Planning
      Committee in the Planning
   The Process For Updating the
      Framework Plan
   The Proposal or Project Review
   Project Implementation

   Campus Boundries
   Roads, Streets, & Highways
   Open Space & Green Space

   UI Payroll Report - Sept. 1997
   Lot/Ramp Space Inventory-
      Oct. 1997
   Meter Inventory - Oct. 1997
   Service Vehicle Zones -
      East Campus
   Service Vehicle Zones -
      West Campus
   Original Plat of Iowa City
   Workshops - Scheduled by
      Functional Area or
   Workshops - Summary of
      Responses By Workshop
   Workshops - Summary of

Executive Summary


The Sesquicentennial Campus Planning Framework plan is an update of the 1990 Campus Planning Framework document and provides guidance to appropriately site and plan projects as they are proposed. The concept of a Framework Plan is that there are certain elements of the campus environment so fundamental they must not be ignored when planning a specific project. A key purpose of the framework plan is to provide continuity to the diverse elements of the campus environment. The Framework Plan is a general plan that designates broad campus-wide facilities or facilities systems. The plan provides principles and guidelines to guide specific proposals but does not indicate how to fit a proposal into the campus in detail. Fitting a proposal into the campus system requires detailed planning and design of the proposed project at the time the project is initiated. By this process, it will be assured that a proposal will fit well within the campus while providing the flexibility necessary to respond to unanticipated and unpredictable changes and requirements as they occur.

The update reviews pertinent information from the 1990 plan, incorporates changes since the earlier plan, and incorporates current and proposed changes that are known. It also documents pertinent existing development on campus such as roads, open space, and parking, and includes information on slopes, soils, and other natural features.

The update, which concentrates on the East Campus and the West Campus areas, also incorporates the Far West Campus west of Mormon Trek Boulevard between the Iowa Interstate Railway and Melrose Avenue (See Maps 1 & 2, and 17) and the Oakdale Campus (north of Interstate-80) more extensively than in the 1990 plan. The concentration, however, remains on the East and West Campuses.

Importantly, the update incorporates the mission, goals and objectives of the 1995 Achieving Distinction 2000 and the December 17, 1996 Achieving Distinction 2000 - A Strategic Plan for The University of Iowa into the Sesquicentennial Campus Planning Framework. The Planning Framework extends and applies recommendations of both plans to the physical environment.

Planning Principles

To function successfully over time, a campus plan must contain sufficient flexibility to accommodate unanticipated changes and developments that inevitably will occur. An extensively detailed plan does not provide the level of flexibility and responsiveness necessary to deal with a changing world. However, without a plan that establishes a framework that preserves and enhances the natural, cultural, and aesthetic sense of place within which change can occur, an environment of chaos, discontinuity, sterility, and ugliness ultimately can occur.

The Sesquicentennial Campus Planning Framework update is firmly based in the framework concept, both reinforcing the notion and extending it to be more responsive. Three groups of Planning Principles - General, Land Use, and Circulation - guide the framework.

Planning Process

Campus Participation

Three sets of workshops were conducted in 1997 to solicit input on the Sesquicentennial Campus Planning Framework. Students, faculty, staff, and others were asked about campus strengths, weaknesses, and what needed to be done. The following is a summary of responses:

What are the campus strengths?

  • Quality, diversity, and historic character of architecture, particularly the Pentacrest.
  • Natural beauty of the campus, Iowa River and the Pentacrest.
  • Compactness of the campus and proximity of similar campus functions to each other.
  • Integration of downtown Iowa City.
  • Pedestrian nature of campus with an emphasis on buildings within walking distance.
  • CAMBUS system and traffic-free areas.
  • Parking near most places.

What are the campus weaknesses?

  • Lack of architectural continuity and individual dislike of certain styles or buildings.
  • Lack of trees, shrubs and flowers.
  • Diminishing of greenspace as weaknesses of the campus.
  • Compactness leads to a lack of open space between buildings.
  • Access difficulties to buildings and across campus for people with mobility problems.
  • Conflicts among vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • Lack of parking.
  • Too many vehicles on campus.

What needs to be done?

  • Create architectural continuity.
  • Plant more trees, shrubs and flowers.
  • Improve maintenance of buildings and grounds and maintain greenspaces.
  • Preserve views to and through the river.
  • Better communications among the university, public, and Iowa City.
  • Develop policies that go along with design changes.
  • Directional signage for all users.
  • There is a strong emphasis on a pedestrian-orientated campus with a number of caveats. The lack of parking, especially a lack of drop-off, loading, or short-term parking in specific locations is a continuing problem. Establishment and enforcement of short-term or loading space time limits of close in parking is seen as a means of supplying convenient, temporary spaces without creating large permanent parking lots. Additional parking at campus edges with properly funded, efficient, consistent, and convenient CAMBUS shuttle service supports a pedestrian-oriented campus. Parking must meet the legal requirements and spirit of the "Americans with Disabilities Act" (ADA) of 1990.

Workshop responses add a current campus users' perspective to the Planning Framework. This perspective, combined with analysis of existing conditions, current planning studies, the Mission, Goals, and Core Values outlined in Achieving Distinction 2000, A Strategic Plan for The University of Iowa, 1996, and concepts developed in previous planning documents lead to the Implementation Strategies and Development Guidelines of the Framework.

Goals and Objectives

Previous Framework plans established goals and objectives that with minor adjustments and updating are valid for this current plan. Goals and objectives are organized into three categories - Land Use, Circulation, and Open Space.

Land Use

  • To provide for efficient operation of the University, provide a campus whose internal arrangement of buildings and facilities is convenient for use by students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and provide a campus that is aesthetically pleasing.
  • To provide land use flexibility so future space needs, not now foreseen, can be met with minimal disruption and achieve compatibility between campus and community functions at their common edges; minimize undesirable impacts of University functions on adjacent non-University land and work toward minimizing undesirable impacts on University land.


  • The Pentacrest is the historic heart of the University and the central focal point of the main campus.
  • The main campus is comprised of several functional areas and planning for new facilities shall respect these functional areas with the following guidelines: Functional areas group land uses in terms of functional interdependencies, adjacency and compatibility, and overlap among functional areas is permitted. Desirable and maximal ground coverage and building heights should be compatible with surrounding buildings and sites and entire functional areas are to be considered in architectural design of buildings. Each functional area will contain appropriately integrated green/open space and space for future expansion should be identified and reserved.
  • To achieve a circulation system that is primarily pedestrian-oriented within each functional area, minimizes private vehicle movement between functional areas, and optimizes pedestrian, bicycle, and CAMBUS movement.
  • To enhance CAMBUS routes and consider alternative vehicles/modes to allow pedestrians to travel areas of campus beyond a ten-minute walk in the least amount of time.
  • To encourage a system of peripheral and remote parking areas and assure efficient pedestrian and CAMBUS connections from peripheral parking to campus destinations and efficient CAMBUS connections from remote parking to campus destinations.


  • Provide separation of vehicle and pedestrian traffic where major conflicts exist and initiate appropriate incentive and disincentive schemes (expanded CAMBUS system, safe pedestrian connections, parking fees, etc.) to limit the number of cars brought to campus each day.
  • Work with the City of Iowa City, Coralville, University Heights, Johnson County, and the Iowa Department of Transportation to minimize non-University destined traffic on campus.
  • Assign parking spaces as close to motorist's primary destination as possible.

Goals - Roadways

  • To insure that all segments of the campus are accessible to those who require vehicle transportation such as emergency, service functions, and those with mobility problems.
  • To insure that University facilities serving a regional clientele have adequate motor vehicle access and parking.
  • To minimize the amount of traffic that passes through the campus, minimize the impact on the academic environment by arterial streets that pass through campus, and minimize the amount of land allocated to vehicular use.

Objectives - Roadways

  • Assume Riverside Drive and Iowa Avenue bridge will remain open to traffic in the future.

Goals - CAMBUS

  • To insure the CAMBUS system supports the pedestrian-oriented campus concept.

Objectives - CAMBUS

  • CAMBUS operations should connect peripheral parking areas to the campus during all the hours campus facilities are open.
  • Provide a level of service that responds to legitimate demands for transit service but does not conflict with other University goals and objectives, coordinate with Iowa City and Coralville transit systems and supplement their systems where improved service to campus users would occur, and redesign streets, parking areas, and other CAMBUS routes to permit easy and safe loading and unloading of passengers.

Goals - Bicycle

  • To facilitate use of bicycle movement to, from, and within the campus while minimizing conflicts with pedestrians and provide adequate bicycle parking.

Objectives - Bicycle

  • Provide a system of safe, convenient bikeways connecting all major areas of campus and connecting with bikeways provided by adjoining communities and provide and maintain bicycle racks convenient to entrances of buildings.

Open Space

  • To make the most of the natural scenic potential of the campus, especially the Iowa River and its adjacent floodplain and wooded areas and preserve and protect the river as a drainage way and as a source of water for community use.
  • To provide a system of interconnected open space and provide ample and adequately distributed areas within the campus both for active and passive outdoor activities.


  • Open space areas free of motor vehicle traffic and parking should be provided and maintained within each functional area and campus sites that possess significant natural features (i.e., Quad Ravine and Hutchinson Quarry) should be preserved.
  • Provide continuous pathways along both sides of the Iowa River, do not locate parking on the riverbank, eliminate existing parking adjacent to the river, and visual and physical access to the river is an important objective in building design and placement.
  • Utilize open space facilities to unify the various parts of the campus.

Implementation Strategies & Development Guidelines

Implementation Strategies and Development Guidelines contain general directions and specific recommendations that provide guidance and flexibility for planning new construction and maintaining existing facilities. They address fundamental campus-wide systems - access, circulation, transportation, construction, preservation, etc. - and methods of providing continuity to the inherently diverse elements of the campus. They address as well, potential further research, data collection, and a formal design guidelines checklist. This section also defines specific strategies and guidelines for the established Functional Areas on the campus.

Pedestrian-Oriented Campus - Maintain, expand, and emphasize safe, efficient, and effective pedestrian movement through campus. A pedestrian-oriented campus includes an efficient parking and transit system, with limited emergency, service, handicapped, and limited short-term parking.

Vehicle System - Ensure access for emergency and service vehicles and for those with disabilities to all areas within the context of a pedestrian-oriented campus.

Parking Standards - Encourage a system of peripheral parking areas and develop parking standards for the campus including mandatory identification of adequate parking spaces for any proposed new buildings or other facilities.

Drop-Off/Short Term Parking - Identify locations where temporary parking spaces, passenger drop-off sites, and other close to facility vehicular spaces might be located to provide short-term parking within the context of a pedestrian-oriented campus.

CAMBUS - Review CAMBUS routes, times, and operations to ensure support of the pedestrian-oriented campus concept. Enhance routes and consider alternate vehicles/modes to allow pedestrians to travel to areas of campus beyond a ten-minute walk in the least amount of time with the minimum of vehicle conflicts.

Open Space System - Organize a defined Open Space System to link diverse campus elements and create a unified, pedestrian-oriented campus.

Pedestrian/Vehicle Conflicts - Identify existing and future pedestrian/vehicle conflict points and determine solutions.

Campus Entrances - Identify significant entrance points to the University and develop entrance features at those locations to provide a sense of arrival at the campus.

Visual Corridors - Identify significant Visual Corridors and protect from view-blocking intrusions. Enhance views to the Iowa River so it serves as a unifying element between the East and West Campuses rather than a dividing element.

Overlooks - Identify, preserve, and enhance significant Overlooks on campus.

Potential Building Sites - Identify potential building sites on campus.

Design Guidelines/Pre-Design Checklist - Develop a Design Guidelines document and a Pre-Schematic Design Plan Checklist to ensure proposed designs address University goals and the intent of the Framework Plan.

Replace Floor Area Ratio - Replace the Floor Area Ratio (ratio between the footprint/number of floors of a building and the site available for that building) analysis of proposed buildings with a flexible compatibility analysis. New buildings should be compatible with existing structures within the Functional Area.

Preserve and Protect National Register of Historic Places, Buildings, and Sites - Preserve and protect buildings and sites on the National Register of Historic Places and identify potential Register inclusion of other historic campus areas.

Identify, Preserve, and Protect Other Historic Buildings and Sites - Identify, preserve and protect buildings and sites not appropriate for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places but historically significant to the campus.

Maintenance Plan - To ensure the long-term integrity of campus facilities, develop a maintenance plan for buildings and grounds that 1) identifies the purpose, goals, and objectives of maintenance, 2) delineates specific periodic maintenance procedures, and 3) identifies funding implications of maintenance.

Campus Statistics - Collect statistics on campus population, enrollment, etc. to establish a basis, determine a sustainability level for the University, and identify need for future data.

Hawkins Drive Improvement - Investigate the concept of realigning Hawkins Drive to a more southerly edge of campus route and redefining the former alignment area to a pedestrian-oriented open space. Include all stakeholders in a process to determine the issues involved. Issues must be satisfactorily resolved before the concept is incorporated into the plan.

West Campus Loop Road - Review the segments of the West Campus loop road system not within the boundaries of the campus (a portion of Highway 6 and Melrose Avenue) to determine if non-University control of these segments is an issue.

Functional Area Recommendations - Identify specific recommendations for each campus functional area. (See Maps 1 & 2, and 17)

    Old Capitol Functional Area
    The Old Capitol Functional Area includes the Pentacrest; Quad ravine west of the river; colleges of Business Administration, Education, Engineering, and most of the Liberal Arts programs; and administration and academic support facilities. Future development should follow the existing urban character of the East Campus (except at the ravine) to maintain and emphasize the architectural, site, orientation, traffic flow, and other physical differences between the East and West Campus areas. Proposed structures close to the Pentacrest should be similar in height and massing but no higher than the Pentacrest structures.

    University Services Functional Area
    This functional area includes University property south of Burlington Street and the Water Plant north of Burlington along the Iowa River. The area is used largely to house Operations and Maintenance and utility functions such as campus shops, motor pool, general stores, and parking. Future development in the University Services Area should follow the existing urban character of the East Campus to maintain and emphasize the architectural, site, orientation, traffic flow, parking, and other physical features of the East Campus.

    East Residence Halls Functional Area
    This area includes Stanley, Currier, Burge, and Daum Halls between North Clinton and the Cleary Walkway. The residential functional area is bordered on the south and west with academic buildings and on the east by Iowa City residential areas. The intersection of Church and Dubuque Streets is a significant University location and it's proximity to the President's Residence makes it ideal for a campus entry feature. Future development in the East Residence Halls Area should follow the urban character of the East Campus.

    Iowa Center for the Arts and the International Center Functional Area
    This functional area is west of the Iowa River and extends from Park Road to Iowa Avenue and extends west across Riverside Drive along Park Road. It contains Hancher Auditorium, Museum of Art, academic departments of Music, Theatre, Art and Art History, International Center, and rock outcropping and Hutchinson Quarry. A recent study for this area focused on reclaiming the river as an important open space corridor and established a compelling and appropriate character for the Arts Campus, created a landscape character that reflects the quality of academic programs, encouraged collaborative endeavors among arts disciplines, and addressed maintenance and ecological challenges of flooding and its impact. Future development in this functional area should follow the character of existing development.

    Health Sciences/Hospital Functional Area
    The Health Sciences/Hospital Functional Area extends from Dental Science to Westlawn and from south of the VA Hospital to Melrose Avenue. It is the location of all on-campus, health-related teaching, research, and service activities. A major change is in process today as the Iowa Health Sciences/Hospital Campus Plan is implemented. The plan includes demolition of existing buildings and construction of new facilities including new buildings, a parking ramp, realignment of Newton Road, a pedestrian bridge to the International Center over Highway 6, and an extensive network of pedestrian walks.

    West Residence Halls Functional Area
    This functional area includes the Quadrangle, Rienow, Slater, and Hillcrest residence halls. Several plans outline potential development including a new residence hall or possibly a medical building replacing the parking lot northwest of the Quadrangle. The lot is a visual and functional intrusion into this area, adds unnecessary traffic, and detracts from the environment of the ravine. The site is suitable for either but any building must be compatible with the residence halls, particularly in terms of vehicle access and traffic. Other potential improvements include enhancing entries of existing buildings and possibly use the tunnel between Rienow Hall and the Quadrangle as a service route for the Quadrangle food service. A potential Overlook site near the northeast corner of Hillcrest provides a dramatic view to the Iowa River, Library, Old Capitol, and much of the East Campus and could be a memorable part of the campus open space system.

    South Melrose Functional Area
    This area includes the Boyd Law Building and extends south to Myrtle Avenue parking and includes several cultural centers, day care centers, the Hydraulics Lab along South Riverside Drive, and a wooded ravine connecting Boyd to the Myrtle Street parking lot. It abuts the West Residence Halls area and includes residential type buildings along Grand Avenue Court. The area along the cliff on the west side of Riverside Drive is designated as a natural area to be protected and has great potential for development of a carefully integrated Overlook site. The character of any future development in this functional area should follow the existing development on the West Campus and maintain the architectural, site, orientation, traffic flow, parking, and other physical differences between the East and West Campus areas.

    Sports Functional Area
    This includes Carver Hawkeye Basketball Arena, Baseball Stadium, Kinnick Football Stadium, open spaces and parking lots near the Recreation Building, the twenty acre wooded slope west of Carver Hawkeye, the lower Finkbine athletic fields, and Finkbine Golf Course. The Athletic Facilities Long Range Plan shows recreation fields to remain south of Hawkins Drive and within the Lower Finkbine area. Campus Entry sites are proposed at the intersection of US Highway 6 and Hawkins Drive and at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and the Iowa Interstate Railroad. Improved pedestrian connection to the Finkbine commuter parking lot, pedestrian connections to Lower Finkbine Athletic Fields and west to Hawkeye Drive Apartments in the Far West Campus, and improved access to the Prairie/Woodland/Wetland area west of Hawkins Drive in the lower Finkbine area are all part of the Sports area plan. Development in this area should follow the character of existing development.

    Far West Functional Area
    This campus area is west of Mormon Trek Boulevard bounded by the Iowa Interstate Railroad tracks, Melrose Avenue, and the West Campus boundary. It includes Hawkeye Court and Hawkeye Drive Apartments, Clear Creek and its woodland, the Mormon Handcart site, and substantial acres of open areas. The woodland area adjoining Clear Creek contains environmentally fragile areas, potential archaeological sites, and other features that must be protected. The pedestrian-oriented campus concept does not stop at the boundaries of the Far West Campus and connections to the Main Campus should be strengthened to ensure this area is perceived as part of the campus. Two master plans address circulation, future golf course, recreation fields, Conference Center and golf clubhouse, and preservation of Hawkeye Court and Hawkeye Drive Apartments. The plans also address proposed flag football fields, tennis courts, tennis building, a women's soccer stadium, natatorium, and parking.

    Oakdale Campus Functional Area
    This includes all 500+ acres of the Oakdale Campus but concentrates on the 250 acre Research Campus area south of Oakdale Boulevard and east of Highway 965. The Oakdale Research Park is a quasi-University entity under the jurisdiction of the Oakdale Research Park Board and is not included in this Framework Plan. The University of Iowa Oakdale Campus Master Plan establishes the development scenario for the research campus portion of this functional area. Future development should follow the character of existing development on the Oakdale Campus as shown in the Master Plan.

East, West, & Far West Campus Development - Recognize, maintain, enhance, and continue the differences between the East, West, and Far West Campus areas of the University.

    There are physical differences between the East, West, and Far West Campus areas reflected in architecture, site, orientation, traffic flow, parking, and other elements. The East Campus is an urban environment with a grid of north-south/east-west oriented streets and buildings, tied to downtown Iowa City, with few open green spaces beyond the Pentacrest. It is separated/connected to the West Campus by the Iowa River. Future development on the East Campus should follow the same existing urban character:

    • Buildings set on or close to the right-of-way.
    • A pedestrian-oriented, ground-level, urban space is part of the site.
    • Buildings occupy all or most of the site.
    • Parking is off-site or is on-site in a parking structure.
    • Building and ground-level pedestrian space connected to the overall pedestrian grid.
    • Buildings near the Pentacrest with a similar height and materials as the historic structures, but no higher than the Pentacrest buildings.
    • Lighting, vegetation, signage, and other site elements meet established University standards and guidelines for those elements.

    The West Campus is less urban, is within a loop road system with buildings aligned with the loop. It adjoins residential and medical neighbors, has large open green spaces at the west edge away from the residence hall area, smaller leftover greenspaces between buildings, and is separated/connected to the East Campus by the Iowa River. Future development on the West Campus should follow a similar character to existing development:

    • Buildings set back from or close to the right-of-way.
    • Buildings occupy a portion or most of the site.
    • Parking adjoins the site or is on-site in a parking structure.
    • A pedestrian-oriented, ground-level, space is part of the site.
    • Building and ground-level pedestrian space connected to the overall pedestrian system.
    • Buildings have a similar height and scale as the surrounding structures.
    • Lighting, vegetation, signage, and other site elements meet established University standards and guidelines for those elements.

    The Far West Campus is closer to the West Campus in character but has fewer constructed elements. Much of the Far West Campus is open with wooded areas along Clear Creek, It is separated/connected to the West Campus by Finkbine Golf Course. Future development on the Far West Campus should follow a similar character to existing development:

    • Buildings set back from the right-of-way.
    • Buildings occupy a portion of an individual site.
    • Parking is on-site in a surface parking lot.
    • A pedestrian-oriented, ground-level, space is part of the site.
    • Building and ground-level pedestrian space connected to the overall pedestrian system.
    • Buildings are compatible with nearby residential housing.
    • Lighting, vegetation, signage, and other site elements meet established University standards and guidelines for those elements.
    • Urban Forest, Lighting, and other campus-wide studies should be updated to include Far West Campus areas.
    • Buffer existing residential areas from intrusion from new development.
    • Protect Clear Creek, wooded areas, the Mormon Handcart site, wetlands, and other sensitive areas.
    • Development should not occur west of Hawkeye Road until a Master Plan for that area is established and development east of the road is completed.

Last Updated: Thursday, January 28, 1999
CPF Homepage CPF Site Index Framework Summary Maps CPF Document PDF Documents