The University of Iowa’s College of Education building, the Lindquist Center, is receiving major renovations scheduled to be complete next month.
The first floor will have updated classrooms, according to the project’s website. The second floor is also being renovated to relocate the dean’s office and house an improved entrance area, student services, student commons with a café, and classroom space.
“Before the renovation, we had student service areas scattered all throughout the building, and it was very difficult for students and families to find the people they needed,” Daniel Clay, dean of College of Education said. “Now, anybody who needs anything in the college can go to one place that is much more centrally located than it was before.”
Clay said he initiated a conversation about renovations four years ago about improvements to the instructional spaces to help the college meet strategic goals.
The college worked with architects to identify ways the spaces could be improved and began the planning process, he said.
“I’ve been sort of the administrator responsible for the project,” Clay said. “We went through all the approval processes and initiated the two phases of the renovation and now we’re just hopeful to complete the second and final phase of the renovation here in about the next month or two.”
The renovations were split into two phases because an area that is part of phase two contains several high-use classrooms, said Jennifer Hoffman, Senior Design Project Manager for UI Facilities Management.
Classes that took place in rooms in the process of being renovated moved online for the spring 2021 semester, Hoffman said.
Phase one included several new TILE lite and TILE flex classrooms, which are active learning classrooms that allow for more collaboration through technology and flexible furniture, she said.
“It is an exciting project and is near and dear to Dean Clay’s heart,” Hoffman wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.
Clay said the project is set to improve the quality of instructional spaces, make the building a more customer-focused place.
“The building had classrooms that didn’t allow us to use best practices in teaching, so it was really important for us to have more technology-enhanced and flexible spaces,” Clay said. “We know that when students feel part of the community, they’re more successful and they have better retention and graduation rates.”
He said the addition of a cafe to the building assists in building a sense of community.
“For me, for example, I’ll grab lunch at the café and go sit at a table with a group of students just to talk with them about how their classes are going, learn about their university experience, answer questions and provide support, whereas before, we couldn’t do something like that,” he said.
UI College of Education junior Quinn Linkvis said in an email to the DI that COVID-19 changed students’ views on classroom experiences.
“COVID has made students grateful and more appreciative of the in-person classroom experience,” Linkvis said. “Students are eager to participate and show up to class more than they ever have. We, as students, took for granted in-person education and we are very excited to be back.”