IMU Meeting Rooms and Iowa House Hotel Redesigned for Iowa Centric Looks

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IMU Meeting Rooms and Iowa House Hotel Redesigned for Iowa Centric Looks

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9 2017.

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9 2017.

Paxton Corey

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9 2017.

Paxton Corey

Paxton Corey

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9 2017.

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A reimagining of several IMU meeting rooms was unveiled to the public in an open house Wednesday afternoon. The changes were designed by students and administrators to honor different facets of the University of Iowa’s history.

For the IMU, the changes were mostly seen in the Big Ten meeting rooms on the second and third floors.

The renovations were a nine-month project to celebrate different aspects of the university. Each room was redecorated with theme art and presented with plaques describing their importance.

Cory Lockwood, the associate director for event services and facilities operations, said he had a particular affinity for the Homecoming and Herky Rooms, which he said stems from his love of Iowa sports starting when he was a child. Despite this, he said that he found it difficult to find a favorite.

“Each room has its unique thing,” Lockwood said. “It’s tough for me to pick a favorite.”

The room Lockwood covered for the open house was based on the “47 things,” of which students are encouraged to partake in before graduating. The “47 things” was originally an initiative in 2008 and had faded for a while before being brought back into consciousness in the former Indiana Room.

The walls are decorated with unique art that Lockwood likened to graffiti and depict nearly all of the 47 traditions and colorful aspects of university life, such as inviting family to town for family day and eating a turkey leg when tailgating outside Kinnick.

IMU Executive Director Bill Nelson said the IMU had an identity problem before the renovations, and the project addressed that issue. While their names were removed from the meeting rooms, the IMU still has a place to honor Big Ten schools.

“We still wanted to honor our Big Ten history,” Nelson said. “Which is why we kept the former Illinois Room as the Big Ten Theater. I think it’s an appropriate tribute to the Big Ten.”

The meeting rooms were not the only parts of the IMU to see renovations. The Iowa House Hotel is undergoing renovations, including its guest rooms and breakfast room.

Hotel general manager Amber McNeal said the renovations should be done by the fall, and she’s pleased with the results.

Outside the rooms, the hotel’s hallways are decorated with handpicked retro photos.

“Each stroll down the hall is different for each guest,” McNeal said.

Nelson said the hallway design elicited a positive response from the visiting crowds he did not expect.

“There’s just a historical picture that we’ve been able to capture for people to enjoy,” Nelson said. “Perhaps an unintended positive consequence but it’s worked out well.”

Nelson said he liked the turnout for the open house. He called it a nice blend of new guests and some common friends.

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