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Release: Immediate

University Services Building offers benefits for students, faculty, staff, UI official says

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A new University Services Building will allow the University of Iowa to move some offices to the perimeter of the campus, vacating space in central campus buildings that can be used by students and faculty, a UI official told the State Board of Regents Thursday. The new building will also better serve faculty and staff by making the Office of Human Resources, including payroll and staff benefits departments, more accessible.

The Regents subsequently approved a project description and preliminary budget for the $7.95 million building. The three-story building will be located at the southwest corner of Prentiss and South Capitol streets and will house two UI offices for certain: Human Resources and Facilities Services Group. Completion of the building's third floor may be delayed, depending on the cost, but that floor will eventually house some members of the Office of Information Technology Services.

"This building will solve a number of problems for us," said Douglas K. True, UI vice president for finance and university services. "By moving some of our service units out of the facilities they currently occupy on the central campus, that space can be devoted to student-centered and faculty-centered uses."

The location of the new building will have room for two parking lots with a combined capacity of 100 cars. That will make it much more accessible to UI faculty and staff than Eastlawn, the current location of payroll and staff benefits offices, True noted.

"Perhaps just as important, the new building will provide much improved facilities for our Human Resources employees," he added. "The current conditions under which they work at Eastlawn are deplorable."

Completion of the third floor would allow the UI to bring together many employees of ITS, who are now scattered among four buildings: the Chemistry Building, Jessup Hall, the Lindquist Center and leased space in the US West Building in downtown Iowa City. In addition to improving efficiency of operations, the move would free space in the Lindquist Center that is needed by the College of Education and its Iowa Testing Programs, True explained.

The UI has agreed to vacate Eastlawn by Oct. 1, 1999, so that Iowa City can use that space for a new parking facility. To avoid moving Human Resources employees twice, the UI in September asked for and received Regent approval to use a fast-track approach in bidding the project. Public bids for the first portion of the project will be received in early November. That part of the project includes site demolition and preparation, construction of footings and foundations and the structural steel.