A drive around the University of Iowa campus can seem like a trip through a maze of construction projects. New buildings for journalism and communication studies, art and art history, and career services and academic advising are rising on the east campus, while research labs sprout on the west. Eventually, students will benefit from all this construction, as it creates new spaces designed to enhance learning.
But closer to “home”—their campus home—students will benefit from construction projects as well.
One of the most visible and exciting projects is the renovation of Burge’s dining services. Remodeling began in the summer of 2002, and by last spring, 80 percent of the new food service areas were operational, offering students choices that range from deli sandwiches and a salad bar to pannini and pasta. In the fall, an Asian food serving station will open and by January 2005 the southwest grill will expand its offerings.
“It’s really nice,” says Betsy Adolph, an RA and a junior from Iowa City. “A lot of people have said that they like the variety and that the food tastes better.”
These upgrades to east side dining services mirror the remodel that was completed in Hillcrest, on the west side of campus, in 2000. By the time students return this fall, half of Burge’s new seating areas should be open, and work should be complete on another project, the courtyard outside the seating area. It will offer diners a view out the southwest-facing windows, toward the T. Anne Cleary Walkway. The courtyard will be landscaped and include a variety of seating, according to John Josten, assistant director for Facilities and Operations in Residence Services. The courtyard will be open for casual use and for events, such as small concerts and other activities sponsored by Residence Life.
New north- and south-side entrances to Burge will be open, making the dining facilities easily accessible from Daum and Currier. Burge’s Clinton Street entrance will be closed this fall, according to Josten, as the lobby is redone and upgrades are made to the information desk. Students will still have access to mailboxes during this time.
Maintaining access for students, as well as minimizing disruptions, is a goal of all residence hall projects. During the academic year, contractors may not begin work until 9 a.m., and there is no work during the move-in period and the following week, and none during finals and the week before finals. Whenever construction projects take place, residents will be kept up-to-date by building staff members. Despite all precautions, however, construction is dusty and noisy, and some inconvenience will be inevitable.
Returning students will notice the results of summertime upgrades to some bathrooms in Burge. Summer projects also include new carpeting, paint, lighting, and furniture in Daum lounges, and new carpet in Daum student rooms and corridors.
Restroom renovations continue in Mayflower.
“We will complete phase four of six phases in the 2004-05 academic year,” Josten says. “It’s an inconvenience for some residents because they have to move mid-year, but they move into rooms with completely renovated bathrooms. Despite the move and some noise during demolition, this project has been well received. We have residents come up and ask us when we’re going to do their bathrooms. It’s great to hear these questions,” Josten says, “because it lets us know that despite the inconveniences, students are as excited about the renovations as we are.”
By Linzee Kull McCray