Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 7, 1997

Residence dept. eyeing changes

by Dean Fiihr, News Service intern
The residence department has hired two consulting firms to help take the department into the 21st century. Work has begun on a comprehensive plan for the residence hall system, which includes halls, apartments and dining facilities.

The firms, Brailsford & Dunlavey of Washington, D.C., and Ricca Planning Studios of Denver, were selected last month. B&D, the primary consulting firm, specializes in master plans for university facilities. Ricca Studios specializes in university and commercial food service operations and will develop a dining services plan for the residence department.

The department's long-range intent is to help Iowa State recruit and retain students by better meeting both their housing and educational needs. In its own strategic plan, the department has adopted three goals from the university strategic plan. The goals include strengthening undergraduate teaching, programs, and services; creating a supportive environment in the university community; and establishing leadership in using technology and computers.

Director of Residence Randy Alexander said the existing facilities do not meet student needs and expectations in the '90s. The last major residence hall construction was completed in 1971, with the earliest construction dating back to 1916.

"We need to look at the whole," Alexander said. "But before we spend money, we need to have a vision of what things will look like."

The consultants visited campus late last month to review facilities, gather information, lead a visioning/brainstorming session and conduct focus groups with students, faculty and staff. The focus group discussions will help identify trends on campus and give the consultants ideas about the needs of students and the services they want.

The next step will be to develop a survey using information gathered in the focus groups. The survey will include faculty, staff, students and guests to residence facilities.

The consultants' proposal is due Aug. 1.

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