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University of Iowa News Release

 

Sept. 22, 2006

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UI Seeks Regent Approval For Financing Plan, Schematic Design For Proposed New Campus Recreation And Wellness Center

The University of Iowa is seeking approval from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa for a $69 million Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The Regents will consider the proposal at their meeting at the University of Northern Iowa on Sept. 27-28.

The 216,000-square-foot facility will be located at the southwest corner of Burlington and Madison Streets, directly south of the University Library. The project will support three primary university programs: 1) student fitness and recreation, 2) aquatics and 3) wellness. The primary function of the facility will be to provide "drop-in" individual fitness activities in those three areas, which now are primarily provided at the Field House facility on the west campus. The current aged pool at the Field House will be decommissioned, and other minor renovations of the Field House are also included in the project.

UI students would pay a fee of $219 a year when the facility opens to fund the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center under the proposed financial plan. Fees currently paid by students for access to exercise and fitness facilities (Fitness Loft, Fitness East/West) would be eliminated. The proposed fee is a significant reduction from a July 2006 proposal. Although the student fee has been reduced, the facility program is unchanged.

The lower fee is the result of a re-worked financing plan. The new financial plan includes the following changes from the previous plan that have had significant positive implications for the projected student fees:

--Interest rate assumptions, which have been provided by the Board of Regents' financial adviser, have been lowered, but are still above current prevailing rates.

--The number of fee-paying students has been adjusted based upon recent enrollment increases.

--The UI Department of Athletics will contribute $9 million to the project, up from a previous commitment of $3 million. The new building includes facilities for the intercollegiate Hawkeye swimming and diving teams.

--The annual operating margin for Recreational Services operations will be less under this plan. With nominal operating margins in this financial model, the university will be seeking gifts and partnerships with private and UI constituencies to establish a small reserve and source of capital renewal.

--No general education fund monies will be used for the project.

"It has been rare to have the kind of student support and enthusiasm for a building project that the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center has had," said Student Services Vice President Phillip Jones. "This new facility will allow us to provide recreational, competitive, and wellness facilities that are on par with those offered by other peer universities.  I'm also heartened by the UI Athletic Department's commitment to increasing its investment in the building and its leadership role in promoting wellness among UI students."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Steve Parrott, 319-335-0552, steven-parrott@uiowa.edu