The third floor of the Blank Honors Center, a hall normally pristine and filled with light, is currently overridden with debris and construction materials.
The Iowa Reading Research Center is being relocated to the honors center during a $5 million renovation in its previous home, the Lindquist Center, which houses the University of Iowa College of Education.
“The Blank Honors Center, and specifically part of the third floor, was identified by the Campus Planning team as the most viable option to meet IRRC’s needs,” said Tanya Uden-Holman, associate provost for undergraduate education.
Uden-Holman said Rooms 340 and 350 have been assigned to the research center, but students still have access to the north lounge and small-group study spaces during the initial renovation.
The Office of Campus Planning had assessed space availability and potential options for the Iowa Reading Research Center based on their unique needs, Uden-Holman said, and decided that this space was the best.
Sean Thompson, communications specialist for the Iowa Reading Research Center, said the center helps to improve literacy skills in students and provides guidance for literacy instruction in schools.
“The IRRC is relocating, as are all other offices on the first floor of South Lindquist Center,” Thompson said. “The area where our offices are is being renovated into classrooms.”
Iowa Reading Research Center Director Deborah Reed said this is the seventh year the center has existed and the fifth year that it has been housed on the UI campus.
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The center has been increasing its support of students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities, Reed said, and the state Senate passed a bill, Senate File 2356, Feb. 26 based on recommendations from the Iowa Dyslexia Task Force that, if signed into law, would create a new role for the Iowa Reading Research Center in preparing certified teachers to be dyslexia specialists.
“Since 2015, the breadth of our literacy research, involvement in professional learning for literacy instruction, and technical assistance for educators has and continues to expand,” Reed said. “We take great pride in helping to improve literacy instruction for the students of our state and want to minimize the interruption of that.”
Reed said the center is preparing for a smooth transition and is excited about the work ahead and the impact that it can have for Iowa families.
Uden-Holman said construction is estimated to be completed in late May and that, although the renovations on the third floor of the Blank Honors Center will result in the loss of some study space, the Honors team plans to explore other areas of the building that could be utilized for additional student study space.
“We look forward to gathering input from Honors students to assist with planning for the furnishing of the student lounge and study spaces, and we appreciate everyone’s patience during the renovations,” Uden-Holman said.