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Release: Immediate

Groundbreaking set for new Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Iowa's new Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility (MEBRF) has been set for 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25. The groundbreaking event will be at the southwest corner of the site currently occupied by the Steindler Building on the UI campus, directly north of the Eckstein Medical Research Building.

Gov. Terry E. Branstad will be the featured speaker at the ceremony, which will mark the official beginning of work on the 213,000 square-foot building. Iowa State Board of Regents President Owen Newlin, UI President Mary Sue Coleman and UI College of Medicine Dean Robert P. Kelch also will make brief remarks.

The MEBRF, which is scheduled for completion in 2001, is part of the largest capital project ever undertaken at the UI by the Board of Regents. When finished, the MEBRF will be the primary education facility for the UI medical school and will also house state-of-the-art laboratory space, including one wing devoted to cancer research. Actual construction will commence in mid-November, once the site has been cleared.

The building will be paid for with a combination of public and private money. In August the Board of Regents sold $22.25 million worth of revenue bonds. Simultaneous with the groundbreaking, the UI Foundation is launching the public phase of a $25 million fundraising campaign, "Seeking Knowledge for Healing." In addition to helping pay for the new building, money raised during the campaign will be used to establish medical education and research endowments, and provide student scholarship funds. So far, the UI College of Medicine and the UI Foundation have raised $15 million in early leadership commitments to the campaign.

In July the UI Foundation announced a $3 million gift from the Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine. The gift will establish the Roy J. Carver Molecular Science Research Center, which will occupy the third and fourth floors of the new building.

A major gift from an Iowa family will be announced at the groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 25. This significant gift will name a portion of the MEBRF.

The MEBRF will feature a clinical skills training area, a computer instruction laboratory, small-group learning facilities, laboratory space for basic and applied research, study and gathering places for health sciences students, and a large, multi-use auditorium.

The total project, of which the MEBRF is the centerpiece, includes a landscape redesign of the health sciences campus, including the relocation of Newton Road, the construction of an 800-space parking facility, and extensive renovations to Westlawn. Once motorized traffic is routed around the perimeter of the health sciences campus, the interior will become a park-like setting, criss-crossed with sidewalks and landscaped with trees, shrubs and other vegetation.