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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 6, 2005

Morrill renovation gets under way this month

by Anne Krapfl

Construction crews will arrive at Morrill Hall later this month to begin work on a $10.285 million renovation of the 115-year-old building. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the larger budget and changes to the renovation plans during its May 5 meeting in Cedar Rapids.

Harold Pike Construction (HPC), Ames, is the general contractor.

The revised budget includes an actual construction budget of $6.873 million. The rest of the budget covers early feasibility studies, architecture fees, removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials, and a contingency fund. Formerly, the project budget was $9 million, of which $7.4 million was raised by the ISU Foundation in private gifts.

Regent Mary Ellen Becker, Oskaloosa, asked whether private fund raising likely could cover the difference in the two price tags. Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said securing private gifts at this stage of the project was unlikely, but not impossible.

When construction bids for Morrill were opened March 10, the lowest bid was about 21 percent over the budgeted construction amount at that time. University representatives, the project architect and representatives from HPC discussed options for reducing construction costs.

The approved changes to the Morrill Hall plan include an infusion of about $1.78 million from university investment and utility funds and almost $500,000 in reductions. The construction changes include:

  • Reduce the amount of exterior limestone and use brick instead
  • Change the type of brick used for the exterior masonry (still very similar to the original selection)
  • Eliminate wood trim on interior windows
  • Substitute steel railings for limestone walls along handicap ramp and lower level stairway
  • Eliminate video surveillance cameras from museum areas

When renovation is complete (now scheduled for January 2007), the tenants of Morrill Hall will be a University Museums special collection, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and a new Center for Visual Learning in Textiles and Clothing.

In addition to the private gifts, funding sources for the Morrill renovation are: a state capitals appropriation for general university classrooms ($850,000) ISU building repair funds ($750,000), utility infrastructure funds ($300,000) and ISU Treasurer temporary investment funds ($1,478,500).