Oh, the places we go! University employees reveal favorite campus spots
It may be summer on campus, but when Dan Teets and his wife walk across the footbridge between the Iowa Memorial Union and the Art Building, they remember winters gone by.
It was on that bridge, in the chill of an Iowa winter, that the two spent time when they were dating.
We were younger and in lovewe still are, even more so, Teets recalls. And we looked toward Hancher Auditorium and the music building at the lights along the river and tried to make time stand still, like the frozen surface of the Iowa River below.
Teets, a library assistant in Central Technical Processing at the Main Library, and his wife Janet, a staff nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, reminisced about their favorite campus spot at the request of fyi. In last months issue, fyi asked readers to write in and reveal their picks for the Universitys best summertime locales.
The bridge and the riverbank near the IMU are a perennial favorite, according to campus planner Larry Wilson, because of the waters view and sounds that offer a calming effect on those who pass by.
Its also one of the only places, he says, to get a sweeping vista of campus.
Wilson and the Campus Planning Committee have been asked to identify types of campus gathering places and figure out what makes them desirable in preparation for an upcoming study.
The study will locate these types of places so that planners may develop designs and, over time, begin creating a more pedestrian- and user-friendly campus.
Theres no funding in sight to implement changes, but Wilson hopes that the study will show potential donors the possibilities.
We want people on campus not just traveling between classes and from building to building, but to get out there and be engaged in the campus, Wilson says. Weve got a lot working against that unified campus feeling right now. We dont have one strong architectural theme, plus the bluff and the river separate the two sides of campus.
Were trying to strengthen connections. Its a pretty good campus, but we have a lot of room for improvement.
Several University employees were willing to cast their votes for top summertime spot.
Cindy Roberts also enjoys the Iowa River. The path between the IMU and Hancher along the river continues to be one of her favorite walks.
Oh, the things I have worked off and solved along those sidewalks, exclaims Roberts, program assistant in the Office of Admissions.
Patty McGillin, UIHC mail room supervisor, returned to campus in May, after being away for a few weeks, and found the hospital area to be in full bloom with magnolia, rhododendron, iris, lilies, geraniums, and foliage.
But her most favorite is yet to comea bright red hibiscus tucked away in the northwest corner of the flowerbed along the Carver Patio, close to the Medical Research Facility.
It wont show its flashy flowers til about the Fourth of July, but it will continue to bloom til at least Labor Daylonger if the weather permits, she says. For years now, this plant has been a harbinger of summer for me, a bright spot to look for on those days youd rather be at the ball park, the beach, or the golf course.
Jeff Vande Berg is fond of UIHCs patios, especially the ones on floors seven and eight, which have refreshments during weekdays and tantalizing views of Kinnick Stadium.
You imagine that you can almost see a corner of the end zone, says Vande Berg, program associate in clinical outcomes and resource management.
A distant, yet equally important part of campus, is one of Ellen Heywoods prime walking or jogging locationsthe pathway that runs behind Oakdale Campus, towards North Liberty.
The path is set back from the road traffic and curves past a small pond. Occasionally, she meets another jogger or a bicyclist, but usually its just me, the wind, and the birds, says Heywood, a senior research assistant in epidemiology.
Although its technically not part of campus, the downtown Pedestrian Mall has long been adopted by faculty and staff as a great place to eat lunch, take a stroll, or spend time after work.
Jason Grundstad, a computational scientist at the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, appreciates the atmosphere surrounding the Friday Night Concert Series on the Ped Mall where, he says, people of all sorts seem to come out of the woodwork and exude a refreshing, mellow atmosphere.
Thinking of the music, the smell of the gyro cart, and the sound of the kids young and not-so-young playing in the fountain make me anxious for the summer.
by Amy Schoon
Editors note: To submit your favorite campus gathering places for consideration by the Campus Planning Committee, e-mail Larry Wilson at email@example.com.