Hillcrest Residence Hall expected to see new capital improvements pending regents approval

If approved, students can expect to see improvements in student spaces, including renovated communal bathrooms and a new study lounge.


Ashley Morris

Hillcrest as seen on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Hillcrest is one of the University of Iowa’s Residence Halls.

Rachel Schilke, Summer Editor

Students living in Hillcrest Residence Hall over the next few years can expect to see new capital improvements, after the state Board of Regents’ property and facilities committee gave the green light to the project’s design, description, and budget.

The renovations to student living spaces in Hillcrest Residence Hall is projected to cost around $23 million, with the funds coming from dormitory revenue bonds and University Housing Renewal and Improvement funds. 

Hillcrest Residence Hall, the largest residence hall on the west side of campus, was built in 1939. It is 267,000 square feet and houses 820 students.

The project’s schematic design, description, and budget were asked for approval before the property and facilities committee on Wednesday. The committee passed the project for consideration and it will go before the full regents for approval.

University of Iowa Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz said during the regents meeting on Wednesday that the project will take place in phases.

“Due to the building remaining occupied, it will be phased over a three-year period, primarily the work happening in the summers between 2021 and 2024,” he said. “It is part of the University of Iowa’s Housing and Dining Program for the modernization of its residence halls so that they can first, continue to operate effectively, but also serve the needs of our students.” 

The project will include renovations such as door replacement, replacing finishing in student rooms, corridors, lounges, laundry rooms, and elevator lobbies, installing a new lounge and study space and furniture, and renovating communal bathrooms.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, the university received approval from the regents in February 2019 for a $8.5 million renovation plan to replace floor, wall, and ceiling finishes throughout the building. 

In November 2019, the regents approved the university’s request for an increase on the project’s budget to $16 to $18 million to renovate communal bathrooms in the residence hall. 

Renovations to Hillcrest Residence Hall are one of four projects the UI is currently undertaking as part of its capital improvement plan. On Wednesday, the UI also received permission to proceed with project planning for the multi-component project to modernize and reduce campus space, which includes razing and building new spaces on campus. 

Lehnertz said the university will bring this back to the regents in approximately six months. He said since the execution of this project will be complex, the UI wants to solicit additional feedback on the scope and timing of the project.

The university is also seeking approval from the regents on the project design and budget to replace exhaust fans in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver Biomedical Research Building, and to ratify the use of a Construction Manager at Risk project delivery method for UI Hospitals and Clinics renovations. 

Both were passed by the committee on Wednesday and will go before the entire regents for approval.

As previously reported by the DI, the regents approved putting a building moratorium in place that halts construction on new projects in September, effective until June 2022. This does not include the renovations to Hillcrest, Carver Biomedical Research Building, or within UIHC.

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