UI requests approval to build new dorm, sell Mayflower Residence Hall

The residence hall could be sold and closed by spring 2024 if approved by the state Board of Regents at its Feb. 22 meeting.


Larry Phan

Mayflower Residence Hall is shown in Iowa City on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Kate Perez, News Editor

Mayflower Residence Hall,  which was first built in 1968 and became housing for University of Iowa students in 1982, is set to be sold to make way for a new residence hall, the university announced Tuesday.

The UI announced in an Iowa Now article its plans to sell the building and construct a new dorm with 250-400 beds on the east side of campus to house second, third, and fourth-year students in a university-owned location.

Potential locations for the new residence hall include:

  • Behind Stanley and Currier Halls
  • Next to Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity on North Clinton Street
  • The Recreation Center parking lot located on West Court Street
  • The Hillcrest Parking Lot at the end of Byington Road

Infographic by Jami Martin-Trainor/The Daily Iowan

The residence hall is expected to draw students to the main university campus and dining halls, according to the Iowa Now article. The university received research and feedback from students about the current housing system, the article stated.

The Daily Iowan reached out to the UI on Jan. 30 about the future plans for Mayflower Hall and the construction of a new dorm.

“The university is always proactively evaluating its housing and dining systems to best serve students who choose to live on campus,” Tricia Brown, senior director of internal communications and media relations, wrote in an email to the DI.

“The university is in the process updating its five-year Housing and Dining master plan and can share more details once it has been presented to and received approval from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa,” she wrote.

Mayflower Residence Hall could close as early as the end of the spring 2024 semester, the article states, following the completion of current construction in Hillcrest Residence Hall.

According to data gathered by the university, Mayflower Residence Hall is the last chosen and first transferred from residence hall for first-year students.

Sarah Hansen, UI vice president for student life, said in the Iowa Now article that 89 percent of first-year students who live in residence halls stay for a second year compared to 82 percent who live off campus.

First-year students who live in Mayflower also reportedly have lower grade point averages.

“This five-year plan represents an efficient and effective use of our resources while improving outcomes for students,” she said.

In recent years, Mayflower Residence Hall has received negative publicity, most recently after a UI student fell out of a window from the sixth floor in November 2022. Mayflower’s gas stoves have also caused multiple evacuations.

RELATED: UI student error with gas stoves in Mayflower cause fire evacuations

“Offering central campus dining encourages students to make connections and develop relationships with each other and decreases isolation, especially for first-year students,” Hansen said in the article.

Selling Mayflower and the construction of a new dorm is part of the university’s Housing Master Plan, which will be presented to the state Board of Regents on Feb. 22. Other plans include the remodeling and modernizing of both Burge and Hillcrest Residence Halls.

Continued renovations to Burge and Hillcrest Residence Halls are expected to cost $5-10 million per project while the construction of the new residence hall will cost an estimated $40-60 million. It will be funded by “potential Mayflower Residence Hall sale proceeds and borrowing,” according to the plan.

A search for a buyer is in progress.

On-campus housing for incoming students will not be impacted by the sale of Mayflower, according to the plan.