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Release: Immediate

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of the artist's model of the revised skywalk design are available by calling (319) 384-0070, or through the internet at <>.

UI Art on Campus Committee approves revised design for skywalk

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Art on Campus Committee today unanimously approved a revised design by artist Siah Armajani for the skywalk connecting the UI Biological Sciences Building with a new biology building currently under construction across Dubuque Street.

The artist's model of the new design, which Armajani presented to the committee at today's meeting, will be placed on display at the UI Museum of Art later this week.

Armajani's design for the skywalk, which the artist said was inspired in part by Iowa's barns, silos and covered bridges, was first presented to community organizations and the general public on July 24, 1997.

With the acceptance of the revised design, work on the skywalk will go forward as part of a building project that will include the new building at the corner of Iowa Avenue and Dubuque Street, as well as remodeling of the current Biological Sciences Building. The new building and the skywalk are expected to be completed in early 2000.

Stephen Prokopoff, chair of the committee and director of the UI Museum of Art, commented: "The final version of Siah Armajani's bridge is handsome, imaginative and gracefully evocative of our region. I think that this fine work will make an important contribution to the community, underscoring its receptivity to the new and the beautiful."

"The artist and architects have made a good faith effort to take public comments into consideration, and they have also responded well to concerns raised by members of the biological sciences department," said Wallace Tomasini of the school of art and art history, a member of the Art on Campus Committee. "This is an elegant design."

Sheila Boyd, former chair of the board of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, was pleased by the breadth of community representation on the committee. "It's important to note that the University expanded the Art on Campus committee to insure good community representation in the review process," she said.

Estimated construction cost for the skywalk is $740,000. This figure includes $555,000 for the skywalk itself and $185,000 for related costs including site preparation and excavation, relocation of utility lines and structural changes to the existing building. Armajani's design fee of $125,000, which is separate from construction costs, will be funded under the Art in State Buildings program.

Members of the Art on Campus Committee are Prokopoff; Tomasini and Hans Breder, art and art history; David Dennis and Pamela White Trimpe, UI Museum of Art; Richard Gibson, Facilities Services Group; Nancy Hauserman, management and organizations; David Skorton, UI vice-president for research; Sheila Boyd, president of Group Five Hospitality; Mark Ginsberg, owner of M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc.; Jim Harris, owner of Prairie Lights Books; Robert Sierk, president of First National Bank; Mary Keough Lyman and Joyce Summerwill. In addition, two members of the biological sciences department, Gary Gussin and Barbara Stay, have been serving on the committee to help make decisions related to the biological sciences project.