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April 4, 2003

It's official; Union transferred to ISU

by Anne Krapfl
The legal transfer of the Memorial Union from its own former non-profit corporation to Iowa State was completed March 31. Vice president for student affairs Tom Hill, who will oversee operations of the Memorial Union, said it probably will take several more months to sort out operational questions as they arise.

The transition of Memorial Union operations began Jan. 1, following a memorandum of agreement signed in November by representatives of the Memorial Union corporation, Iowa State University, ISU's Government of the Student Body (GSB) and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The state becomes the official property owner. Iowa State assumes approximately $4.7 million in debt incurred by the Memorial Union for renovations to the food court and parking ramp several years ago.

Fifty-one Memorial Union employees in non-food areas became Iowa State employees on April 1; another 38 food service and catering employees have been university employees since January. All of the Union's food operations are part of ISU Dining.

The transfer of the Union from the separate corporation to the university was initiated by students, via the GSB, seeking better programs and services. Because the university has a higher bonding (i.e. funding) capacity than the Union enjoyed, plans are under way for physical improvements to the facility that are expected to boost the caliber of programs.

The improvements include modernized meeting rooms, a new southwest entrance and redesigned hallways to improve traffic flow through the building, renovations to the three floors of hotel rooms and required fire and life safety improvements. University bonds, in addition to a new $15 student fee approved by GSB a year ago, will pay for some of these improvements.

Search is on
A search committee to find a new director for the Memorial Union has begun its work. Current executive director MaryJo Mertens is retiring, effective April 30. The search committee is co-chaired by Terry Mason, student counseling service, and associate vice president for student affairs Teresa Branch, who will leave Iowa State next month for the University of Montana, Missoula.

Hill said the goal is to bring candidates to campus later next month, with a new director on board before Sept. 1. An interim director will be named sometime this month.

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Published by: University Relations,
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