State Board of Regents approves Pentacrest modernization project

The state Board of Regents voted to approve the University of Iowa’s request to modernize three buildings on the Pentacrest.


Tom Jorgensen

The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

COUNCIL BLUFFS – Three buildings on the Pentacrest will receive makeovers after the state Board of Regents voted in approval of the University of Iowa’s request to move forward with a project to modernize and restore the center of campus.

The $88.7 million project will restore MacBride, MacLean, and Jessup Halls over the next 8 to 10 years.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, the project will begin with MacLean Hall and is projected to save the UI $30 million in deferred maintenance costs, a cost that likely would have risen to $44 million in five years.

“In 2007, these three buildings were the top priority of the University of Iowa and the Board of Regents for renewal, and then the flood of 2008 came,” Rod Lehnertz, UI Vice President for Finance and Operations said.

In addition to state funding, the UI will contribute $30 million of its own funds to the project.

RELATED: UI requests state funding to restore Pentacrest buildings

Modernization will allow the UI to make the three buildings more academically focused through the addition of classrooms and student support spaces, Lehnertz said. Currently, Jessup Hall is largely made up of administrative offices.

All three buildings are anywhere between 96 to 115 years old, and students with disabilities were not a priority at the time of their foundation, Lehnertz said. Although each building now has elevators, the UI hopes to make them more accessible and inviting to everyone, he said.

“These buildings are now a dozen years older and facing even more impactful shortcoming with respect to operations, and so we need to get back to modernizing these buildings,” Lehnertz said.