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University of Iowa News Release

 

Dec. 2, 2008

UI purchases 22 mobile units to be used by School of Music, Theatre Arts

The University of Iowa announced today that it has purchased 22 mobile units for use next semester by its School of Music faculty, staff and students and by teaching assistants in the Department of Theatre Arts.

The mobile units will be delivered to the campus by mid-January, prior to the beginning of the spring 2009 semester, and will be clustered in the parking lot immediately west of the Theatre Building. The project cost is estimated at about $1.45 million. McComas-Lacina Construction Company of Iowa City has been awarded the contract to provide the mobile units, most of which are 24 feet by 12 feet and can be moved in the event of any anticipated flooding.

The School of Music will use 12 of the units; Theatre Arts will use the other 10. The temporary School of Music space will be used by faculty as studios for teaching, and by students for practicing and performing. The Theatre Arts' space will be used for one classroom and for offices for teaching assistants and a few faculty members.

According to UI officials, it is especially important to physically bring together students, staff and faculty of the School of Music, who have been displaced and dispersed around the campus and Iowa City community in the wake of the June flood. Voxman Hall, home of the UI School of Music, and Clapp Recital Hall were flooded and evacuated during the natural disaster, and both remain out of commission with extensive damage. Also strongly influencing their decision to purchase the mobile structures, UI officials added, is the importance of providing better acoustical space, which is critical for teaching, practicing and performing.

"The School of Music has always been and will continue to be an integral and vital part of the university's mission," President Sally Mason said. "We are trying to do everything we can to provide our faculty, students and staff with additional temporary quarters that can better meet their needs."

In addition to the mobile units, the UI recently completed a project to renovate the north section of the Museum of Art building for use by the School of Music.

Currently FEMA is completing its assessment of Voxman Hall, Clapp Recital Hall and Hancher Auditorium to determine the university's options and a level of financial support available for those options, Mason said. That information is expected early next year.

The UI has returned to service more than 1.5 million square feet, or 62 percent of the total space removed from service because of flooding, Senior Vice President Doug True reported this week to the Iowa Board of Regents.

"While this percentage might suggest the university is well down the road toward recovery, the most difficult flood recovery decisions, those with the greatest programmatic and financial impact, are yet to be made." True said. "Decisions about the recovery of UI Arts Campus programs and flood mitigation on both sides of the Iowa River will be challenging, but those decisions will be made collaboratively, relying on the efforts of the university flood mitigation task force as well as the recommendations of external consultants and FEMA."

One of the early recommendations made by the flood mitigation task force and consultants will result in the repair and restoration of Art Building West, one of two buildings that were home to UI's School of Art and Art History. Plans call for fully re-occupying that building by December 2009. That decision was based on a careful evaluation of the importance of meeting critical needs of the art and art history programs weighed against the impact of damage incurred by the flood, as well as by the risk of exposure to future flooding prior to completion of full mitigation efforts on the arts campus, UI officials said.

Eighteen of the mobile units being purchased are 24 feet by 12 feet. Three are 28 feet by 24 feet, and one is 24 feet by 40 feet. They will provide 7,080 gross square feet of space.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Rod Lehnertz, UI Planning, Design and Construction, 319-335-1205 between 3 and 5 p.m., rodney-lehnertz@uiowa.edu; Steve Parrott, University Spokesperson, 319-335-0552, steven-parrott@uiowa.edu; Linda Kettner, University Spokesperson, 319-384-0030, linda-kettner@uiowa.edu