Regents committee to recommend new psych building, razing part of Seashore

Minimal+maintenance+and+repair+on+the+building+shows+its+dated+interior+in+need+of+a+remodeling+in+Seashore+Hall+at+The+University+of+Iowa+on+Wednesday%2C+April+20%2C+2016.+Seashore+Hall+was+the+original+location+of+the+University+Hospital+dating+back+to+1899.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FAnthony+Vazquez%29

(The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez

Minimal maintenance and repair on the building shows it’s dated interior in need of a remodeling in Seashore Hall at The University of Iowa on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Seashore Hall was the original location of the University Hospital dating back to 1899. (The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

 

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

The state Board of Regents’ Property and Facilities Committee agreed to recommend to the full board that it approve a $33.5 million, 34,795-square-foot facility for the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department.

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 now housed in three buildings: Seashore Hall, Spence Laboratories of Psychology, and the renovated Stuit Hall.

The project would also include razing a portion of Seashore Hall, 14,300 square feet, in order to connect the new facility to Spence, according to regents’ documents.

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

Seashore was constructed in 1898 as the UI’s new hospital, and the department moved into it in 1930, after the hospital had moved across the river in 1929. Plans to raze the entire building will be considered 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 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 regents 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 a 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 Main Library or in Gibson Square.

“We are very confident that the site satisfies the needs — actually numerous 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 1 million visitors in the past year because of modernization on its main floor.

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