Regents approve UI and UIHC 10-year master plan for facility renovations

The state Board of Regents approved the University of Iowa’s plan that spans 10 years of renovations and modernization projects to facilities on Tuesday. The plan also includes the construction of three new buildings to the UI Hospitals and Clinics campus.


Tate Hildyard

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are seen on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

The state Board of Regents voted to approve the University of Iowa’s 10-year master plan for facilities throughout the campus on Wednesday.

The plan includes the modernization of both the UI main campus as well as the UI Health Care campus.

The main campus will include the modernization of MacLean, Jessup, and Macbride halls, as well as the Iowa Memorial Union.

“Our intent is to modernize these buildings which are at the historic core of our campus, many of them not updated primarily since the buildings were built, near or beyond 100 years ago,” said Rod Lehnertz, UI senior vice president for finance and operations.

Additionally, the plan includes projects such as razing Halsey Hall in order to replace the Iowa Memorial Union parking ramp, modernizing the Main Library, and purchasing the entirety of the Old Capitol Mall by 2025, Lehnertz said.

Also outlined in the plan is the movement of the UI cultural houses to the west end of Hubbard Park.

“This would maintain Hubbard Park for our student activities that we already host there adjacent to the Memorial Union, but also bring the cultural centers to the very core of the campus to share with the entire university community,” Lehnertz said.

The second part of the 10-year master plan is the modernization of the UI Hospitals and Clinics campus. The plan includes the construction of an inpatient tower, a research and academic facility, and an outpatient tower.

The urgency of these additions is partially caused by the need for more hospital beds, as UIHC will need to grow by over 400 beds to satisfy the needs of Iowans all over the state in the next ten years, UIHC CEO Suresh Gunasekaran said during the meeting.

“It’s really important to understand that we want to partner with hospitals and health care providers across the state to make sure that we are not trying to construct everything in Iowa City,” he said. “We do not think the solution for all health care needs for Iowans is greater capacity at UIHC, but we do think it’s one important component.”

The addition of the new towers as well as the research and academic facility will help to improve and grow all of UI Health Care, whether it be to help students learn or the people of Iowa, Gunasekaran said.

“In order to increase inpatient care, we need outpatient space as well to be able to follow up on those patients or to intake those patients,” Gunasekaran said. “As we expand and modernize the clinical campus at UI Health Care, it’s important that the academic and research footprint also expand.”

With the addition of the three projects, UIHC expects to be able to serve 30 to 50 percent more patients by 2031.