Campus Planning Committee

2002-2003 Annual Report

 

The 2002--03 academic year has seen major developments in the built environment of the campus and so considerable engagement for the Campus Planning Committee.

 

The west campus residential neighborhood, beginning with the building of the athletic learning center on Melrose, is being reimagined. This requires careful thought about traffic, neighborhood relations, and design that serves students' safety and desires.  CPC has been engaged with all of this dialogue, this and including other west side activities:  always additions to the medical campus and parking for it and for students, renovation of Kinnick, rethinking an egress from a west-side parking facility along the golf course to avoid much of Melrose.  The list goes on.

 

The arts campus has also developed in the last year.  Work on the new art building has begun, first by draining the pond.  No visible bodies there.  Dey house renovation is about to beginning.  The journalism building has begun.  Many cranes around campus!

 

CPC has overseen the reconstruction of Old Capitol, a high profile project.  While the public has recently seen the installation of a new gold dome--a good thing, to be sure--we are especially keen on the proposed new vibrant interior colors for their own sake and because they more closely recapture the 19-century interior.  We also applaud the Design and Construction staff and the Old Capitol staff for finding a bell made by the same 19-c manufacturer as the destroyed bell, one with a pitch only a half tone (I believe) different from the first bell.  Pictures of OC from before the fire make it clear to me at least that the dome itself--not to speak to the fire and water damage to the interior--was much rotted away and destroyed before the fire took it.

 

We are now in the process of participating in the choice of architects for the renovation of IMU.  The local firm is chosen; the national firm with special expertise in student unions will be chosen soon.  Similarly, the architect for renovation of the Pres. house has been chosen.

 

All this building can be heady stuff, but what I find most gratifying is the expansion of CPC invitation list to include the mayors and other city officials and the neighborhood liaisons from Iowa City, University Heights, Coralville.  The University Heights mayor attends regularly.  The Iowa City mayor sometimes.

 

Similarly, CPC has a representative on the west side traffic task force that meets with Iowa City planners, their consultants and neighborhood representatives.  This discussion is crucial to the city and the university and the residents.  Possible solutions are hard to come by and harder to agree upon.  This important work will continue.

 

CPC has also engaged in an ad hoc committee to consider how community relations should best be handled via university committee structure. How can we get the best and fullest participation on and off campus and create long-term thinking.  Planning is in fact about the long term.

 

Finally, we are about to embark on a series of listening posts to elicit planning input from people on and off campus.  This is the first time that there have been neighborhood meetings off campus.  We hope that the faculty senate and council will participate in these fora and encourage others to do so as well.

 

I have not addressed issues of environmental stewardship, another exciting area more in evidence at CPC meetings.  If you would like me to, call on me.

 

Barbara Eckstein

CPC Chair 2002-03