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Release: Oct. 9, 2000

UI Biology Building East to be dedicated Oct. 14

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts department of biological sciences will hold a 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 dedication ceremony at the corner of Iowa Avenue and Dubuque Street for the Biology Building East, the Jerry J. Kollros Auditorium and the new skywalk.

Scheduled speakers include: Owen J. Newlin, president of the Board of Regents; Mary Sue Coleman, UI president and professor of biological sciences and biochemistry; Linda R. Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of biological sciences; Jack E. Lilien, professor and chair of the department of biological sciences; and Gary N. Gussin, professor of biological sciences.

The ceremony will be followed by tours of the new building beginning at 11 a.m. In addition, a 1:30 p.m. free, public symposium in the Jerry J. Kollros Auditorium (named for Emeritus Professor Kollros who taught at the UI from 1946-1988) will feature presentations aimed at general audiences by four biological sciences faculty:

  • "Genes, Nerves and Behavior: From Fruit Flies to Human," by Professor Chun-Fang Wu;
  • "How Insects STAY Young," by Professor Barbara Stay;
  • "Only As High As an Elephant's Eye: What Limits Growth in Corn," by Associate Professor Erin E. Irish; and
  • "How Cells Crawl Around in the Body: 3D Reconstructions," by Professor David R. Soll.

Jack E. Lilien, who came to the UI in July as professor and chair of biological sciences, says that the dedication activities are meant to highlight the exciting opportunities that the new facilities make possible for research, teaching and learning.

"Biology is central to almost all our contemporary concerns, from human health to environmental preservation," Lilien says. "These new facilities will insure that our department continues to make important contributions through cutting-edge research and education."

The public dedication ceremony marks the completion of the first part of a two-phase, five-year construction and planning program to improve UI biological sciences facilities. The Biology Building East is a 56,000-square-foot research facility that opened for classes at the beginning of the fall semester. The building houses four new classrooms, the new Jerry J. Kollros Auditorium equipped with the latest in teaching and presentation technology, state-of-the-art research laboratories, a greenhouse and the Raymond Fong Conference Room, named in honor of a graduate student killed in an automobile accident. Brooks, Borg and Skiles, a Des Moines architectural firm, designed the new building, and McComas-Lacina of Iowa City served as the general contractor for the overall project. The $17.7 million Biology Building East project also included remodeling of the old Biology Annex, which houses the departmental library, and construction of the skywalk, designed by architect Siah Armajani and built by general contractor Taylor Ball, Inc. of Cedar Rapids.

The second phase of the biological sciences improvement program, which began in July, involves renovation of the1902-vintage Old Biology Building to accommodate faculty offices and 13 state-of-the-art laboratories. The project will also involve upgrading labs, offices and classrooms in the Biology 1 and Biology 2 buildings, constructed with federal funds in 1965 and 1971, respectively. The cost of the final phase is $16.8 million, of which $14.7 has been appropriated by the Iowa Legislature.

The department of biological sciences is a nationally recognized research center that currently consists of 31 tenure-track faculty, 52 graduate students, and more than 70 full-time and part-time support staff. More than 600 students list the biological sciences as their major, double the number of eight years ago, and the department attracts more than 3,000 students from seven of the UI's 11 colleges. It offers a wide array of graduate programs and conducts research across the full spectrum of biological sciences, from cell, molecular and developmental biology to neurobiology, physiology, and ecology and evolution.

The ceremony, tours and talks are free and open to the public.