Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 23, 1999

Answer Center expansion planned

by Diana Pounds
More than 20,000 questions were directed to staff behind the counter of the Student Answer Center during its pilot year of operation. The student service center that opened last August with a small, three-sided booth in the middle of Beardshear Hall's ground floor will be improved and become a permanent part of Beardshear.

The new center is part of a $5.7 million remodeling project in Beardshear that will give students more convenient access to university services, brighten Beardshear with lots of light and a more open atrium, and improve the building;s fire safety and accessibility. There have been no major changes on the ground floor since the building was constructed in 1906, said Warren Madden, vice president for business and finance.

As part of the remodeling, some administrative offices will be relocated and reorganized into more efficient groupings.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa recently approved the schematic design for the project and gave the go-ahead for more design development with Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture Engineering, Des Moines.

Under the plan, the help desk on Beardshear's ground floor will be remodeled and become the hub of a much-expanded Student Answer Center. Surrounding the center will be a variety of student service departments to help students with such things as financial aid, registration and career planning.

"Natural light, a more open atrium and new, inviting entry doors to student service offices will transform Beardshear's ground floor into a bright, easy-to-navigate place for students," said vice president for student affairs Tom Hill. "The Student Answer Center is changing the character of Beardshear. It's more accessible and useful to students."

The remodeling also will involve some changes in the upper two floors of Beardshear, as departments are relocated, Madden said. Some office suites will be reconfigured to meet space needs, the elevator will be relocated and will be ADA compliant, and maintenance, accessibility and safety improvements will be made, he said.

None of the changes involve the first floor space of the President, Provost or Vice President for Business and Finance offices, Madden said.

Design development work on the Beardshear remodeling will continue through fall 1999. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2000 and last nearly two years, with the project completed no later than January 2002.

Beardshear after the remodeling

  • Ground level: Student Answer Center, including the Help Desk, Financial Aid, ISU Card, Career Planning and Accounts Receivables. (Registrar services will be offered in the center, as well as in Alumni Hall.)
  • First level: President, Provost, Vice President for Business and Finance.
  • Second level: Two vice presidents (Student Affairs, External Affairs); three vice provosts (Research and Advanced Studies, Extension, Undergraduate Studies); Governmental Relations; Marketing.
  • Third level: University Legal Services, Affirmative Action, Human Resource Services, Institutional Research, Internal Audit.
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