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Regents’ Committee approves funding for new Psych building

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Regents’ Committee approves funding for new Psych building

Vladimir Kulikov

Vladimir Kulikov

Vladimir Kulikov


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By Cindy Garcia

[email protected]

The largest department in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is one step closer to receiving a state-of-art teaching and research space.

The Iowa Board of Regents’ Property and Facilities Committee agreed to recommend approval to the full board on Thursday for the $33.5 million construction of a new 34,795-square-foot facility for the University of Iowa’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

According to Regents documents, the new building would include two general assignment classrooms, student learning commons, research laboratories, offices and conference rooms, and the department office for Psychological and Brain Sciences.

The department is housed in three different buildings at the moment, including Seashore Hall, Spence Laboratories of Psychology, and the renovated Stuit Hall.

The project would also include razing a portion of Seashore Hall at 301 East Jefferson St., 14,300 gross square feet in total, in order to connect the new building to Spence, according to regents documents.

Rod Lehnertz, the senior vice president for finance and operations, told regents the demolition would take place on the southeast wing of Seashore.

Seashore was constructed in 1899 as the UI’s new hospital, but the department moved into it in 1930. Plans to completely raze the entire building will continue after the new building is built.

“Since 1930, it’s been used for the function it was not built for, for psychology in the 1930s,” Lehnertz said at the meeting.

Although 76,000 gross square feet would be removed from campus, Lehnertz emphasized the new building would enable greater interdisciplinary work and new teaching and research methods.

A previous proposal to modernize Seashore and its surroundings was pushed back by the board in September 2014. The Daily Iowan previously reported the regents took issue with its adherence to the academic and economic goals of the ongoing TIER efficiency review, given its cost.

Lehnertz also updated the regents on the UI’s plans for the new art museum. He said additional feasibility study on campus would take place regarding the new location of the museum, which would be south of the UI Main Library or in Gibson Square.

“We are very confident that the site satisfies the needs — actually multiple needs on our campus for this project,” he said.

Lehnertz said it would be beneficial to create cooperation with the library, which received more than a million visitors in the past year due to modernization efforts undertaken on its main floor.

“I think that’s just great. That is just a win-win for everybody. It’s excellent,”  Regent Dakovich said.

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