UI requests state Board of Regents approve property sale, window replacement project

The University of Iowa has asked the state Board of Regents to approve a project to replace windows on the English Philosophy Building and another to accept and sell a property gift.


Raquele Decker

The University of Iowa’s English-Philosophy Building is seen on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

Kelsey Harrell, Managing Digital Editor

The state Board of Regents heard two requests from the University of Iowa, the first for a project that will replace the windows on the English and Philosophy Building and the second for the acceptance and sale of rural property in Louisa County.

The UI requested approval for the property sale and window replacement during a virtual regents meeting on Thursday.

The EPB window replacement project will be funded with building renewal and deferred maintenance funds and is estimated to cost $2.15 million, according to regent documents. This project will replace 270 single-pane windows with insulated double-pane windows to improve the building’s energy efficiency.

Construction will take place during summers 2021 and 2022, UI Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz said during the meeting.

The EPB is a heavily used facility at the UI with 10,000 students, faculty, and staff typically utilizing the building on a weekly basis, according to the documents. Each year the UI receives comfort complaints and reports of excess moisture and sometimes mold that needs to be abated.

According to the documents, this project is at the top of the UI’s deferred maintenance list.

Additional insulation will also be installed around the windows and sealants to exterior wall panels will be replaced as part of the project. The current window blinds will be replaced with roller shades, according to the documents.

If project bids are favorable, the UI may consider accepting a bid for additional work to install a water repellent on exterior concrete and masonry wall panels and make minor exterior repairs.

RELATED: Iowa regents approve property transfer to allow relocation of historic Iowa City home

The second request was to accept a property gift of 39 acres of rural land 42 miles southeast from campus in Louisa County from the estate of Wallace M. Fieldman, and sell the same property to Oscar Hiller for $168,000, according to regent documents.

While the UI is appreciative of the gift, it does not have a use for it as it does not fit into the university’s academic or research mission, UI Finance and Operations Business Manager David Kieft said during the meeting.

The property includes an old home with no operating septic or water systems, with the remainder of the property being prairie and timber, according to documents.

“It’s an old farmhouse abandoned about 20 years ago, missing windows, more raccoons in it than you can imagine, there’s about 15 vehicles, large dump trucks, that are completely rusted out with trees growing through them, the property is in pretty poor shape,” Kieft said.

The assessed value for the property was about $56,000, Kieft said. The property is not residential or farmland, but is pristine woodlands with a pond and wetlands, he added.

The attorney for the Fieldman estate approached the UI to inform it that a family friend was interested in purchasing the land, as is with no contingencies, he said. The intent of the buyer is to keep the area as preserved habitat for wildlife, Kieft said.

According to the documents, the UI has been made aware of repeated trespassers on the property.

“As the condition of the property stands right now it’s a significant liability risk to the university and I think transferring this out of the university’s name at this point is a very smart thing to do,” Kieft said.

Along with this request, the UI asked the regents to waive the policy that states real estate should be conveyed based on appraisal, according to the documents

Kieft said the UI is comfortable with the price the property will be sold for.

According to regent documents, the funding needed to appraise the property or fix it up in order to list that it would not be a good use of university funds.

The regents will vote on whether or not to approve the two requests during its Sept. 23 meeting.

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