University of Iowa construction moratorium to be lifted next month

Campus construction projects will resume after Sept. 12.


The Daily Iowan

The IMU Flood Mitigation and Recovery Project is being constructed on Saturday, May 10. The project will protect the area from future flooding and the completion date is set for May 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

Emily Wangen, Politics Reporter

University of Iowa campus construction will return to normal in Sept. 12 with the lifting of a five-month moratorium on construction projects.

“Many communities are affected as the university addresses the generational disinvestment from the state, and we appreciate your standing with us as we make difficult choices to maintain excellence for our students,” said Rod Lehnertz, the UI senior vice president for Finance and Operations, on Thursday in a release from the Office of Strategic Communications.

According to the state Board of Regents’ capital plan, which was unveiled during a June 2017 regents’ meeting, the university planned to construct three buildings in fiscal 2018, which ended June 30:

Stanley Museum of Art, $50 million

Tippie College of Business Facility and Entrepreneurial Center, $30 million

Finkbine Golf Club House, $10.8 million

Other work included:

Renovations across the campus, $188 million

UI Hospitals & Clinics extension to the Iowa River Landing clinic, $120 million

UIHC renovations, $120 million

During the moratorium, projects that had been bid and awarded and were already under construction, addressed safety or code concerns, or were needed because of an emergency were permitted to continue.

“The project moratorium could have numerous consequences,” UI President Bruce Harreld and Lehnertz wrote in a statement following the announcement of the moratorium. “The condition of facilities may suffer, and repairs may become more expensive in the future.”

The moratorium, which was implemented April 12, aimed to defer approximately $5.5 million from the general-education-fund budget following $5.49 million in fiscal 2018 midyear budget cuts from the state Legislature.

The budget cuts marked the second-consecutive year that legislators reduced higher-education funding, adding to a decrease in state appropriations to the regents of more than $40 million since fiscal 2017.

Following the moratorium, the UI took two more budget-saving measures through the closure of the Institute for Public Affairs in May and the closure of seven more UI centers and funding cuts to three more in July.