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Release: Immediate

UI to celebrate re-opening of Schaeffer Hall with Oct. 16 ceremony

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- For nearly a century Schaeffer Hall has been the heart of undergraduate education at the University of Iowa. Now, following a two-year, $8.6 million renovation project, the UI will celebrate its re-opening with a ceremony attended by Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Iowa Board of Regents President Owen J. Newlin.

The ceremony will be Thursday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m. on the east steps of Schaeffer Hall. On hand to welcome Branstad and Newlin will be UI President Mary Sue Coleman, Dean of Liberal Arts Linda Maxson, and Associate Dean of Liberal Arts John Fix. Sheldon Stromquist, professor and chair of history, will speak on behalf of the faculty.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony and a reception immediately afterward. All interested persons are also invited to take self-guided tours of the building.

"The renovation of Schaeffer Hall is a splendid example of how to modernize a campus landmark," said Coleman. "Schaeffer Hall's classrooms now support the latest technology in teaching, and yet we have preserved the building's classic beauty.

"It's the perfect setting for a liberal arts education, and we want everyone to see it," she added.

Schaeffer Hall originally opened Jan. 23, 1902. It was named for Charles Schaeffer, the UI's seventh president. Ironically, Schaeffer never laid eyes on the building. His sudden death in September 1898 came shortly after groundbreaking ceremonies for what was to be called the Collegiate Building, which he had convinced the State Legislature to fund.

State support was crucial for the renovation project as well. "We owe a debt of gratitude to our Board of Regents, the Governor and the State Legislature for recognizing the importance of this project to our teaching mission," Coleman said.

"We are also fortunate to have private support for the project as well," she added. Robert J. Myers of Silver Spring, Md., has funded the Bob and Dody Myers Computing Laboratory in Statistics and Actuarial Science.

The renovated Schaeffer Hall is once again home of the office of the dean of the college of liberal arts, the UI's largest college with more than 16,000 undergraduate students. The building also houses four departments: classics, history, political science, and statistics and actuarial science.

These are some of the highlights of the renovation project:

· Classrooms now have computer workstations and computer projectors for using on-line educational resources. But chalkboards, including some of the 100-year-old original slate boards, have also remained.

· Seminar-like seating for small-group discussions has replaced uniform rows of desk chairs.

· Each academic department has a conference room for meetings and seminars.

· Faculty offices that varied in size from 80 square feet to 300 square feet are now more uniform in size.

· Fire safety has been addressed through automatic fire doors that don't sacrifice the building's openness.

· Accessibility needs have been met by a new elevator.

· The complete exterior was sandblasted, the interior was virtually gutted, and all the old window air conditioners were removed to allow for new central air conditioning.

· The building was rewired for electrical service. In addition, more than 15 miles of computer and telephone cable were installed.

· The classic beauty of the building has been preserved with restored and replaced oak woodwork and stone molding, refurbished faux marble columns, and lighting, color and decorating schemes that coordinate through the building.