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

June 15, 2005

Revised budget moves Memorial Union renovation forward

by Anne Krapfl

Renovation plans for the Memorial Union are back on track, following approval of a revised budget June 14 by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The first phase of the project will be re-bid in the November-February 2006 time frame, with work beginning soon after.

The revised budget is $19.9 million, or $2.9 million more than the budget approved in April 2004.

A $17 million proposal to build a south addition to the Union, add a 4-level link between the building and the adjoining parking ramp, and renovate for better accessibility and people circulation hit a snag in March when the lone bid was $5.2 million over budget. University leaders, project architects and representatives from the construction company studied options for reducing costs without impacting program needs in the building.

University leaders also decided to increase the project budget. Additional dollars will come from accumulated student fees designated for the Memorial Union renovation ($900,000), interest earnings on the construction fund during the project ($1 million), and a private gift of $1 million designated specifically for the Great Hall.

Key changes between the first and second proposals include:

  • Planned renovation of all second-floor meeting rooms, including the Gallery and Pioneer Room, has been postponed. MU director Richard Reynolds said as funds become available in the future, smaller-priced projects will be completed on the second floor.
  • South addition for the University Book Store will be smaller and redesigned. It no longer will wrap over the loading dock at the southeast corner of the Union, as originally designed.
  • The roof of the two-story addition adjoining the Sun Room no longer is planned as a roof terrace.
  • Significant work will be done in the Great Hall. Reynolds said it will include refinished floors and wall woodwork, new stage and window curtains, a refurbishing of the stage (including removal of two former organ pipe chambers) to create a stage suitable for performances, an upgrade to the sound system and the wiring system servicing the lights -- for more lighting options, new chairs and tables, and renovating the mechanical wall between the Great Hall and the Sun Room.


A revised budget that includes a $2.9 million increase has put the Memorial Union renovation plans back on track. The first phase of the project will be re-bid at the end of the year.