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

Sept. 26, 2008

Regents give ISU green light on new center, more renovation at Vet Med

by Anne Krapfl

University leaders received state Board of Regents approval to establish a center for biorenewable chemicals and proceed with planning on a second phase of renovation and construction at the College of Veterinary Medicine during the board's Sept. 18 meeting in Coralville.

New center

Iowa State announced Sept. 5 it will receive a five-year $18.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), one of five engineering research centers the NSF will launch this year. The center's goal is to develop technologies that will transform a petroleum-based chemical industry into one based on plants and other biorenewables. The focus will be on developing catalysts that promote chemical reactions that can efficiently produce biorenewable chemicals.

Iowa State will lead the 10 institutions affiliated with CBiRC. Brent Shanks, professor of chemical and biological engineering, will be its director. Center office and research space will be located in the new Biorenewables Research Laboratory when it is completed on the campus' west edge in early 2010. Until then, the center is housed in Lab of Mechanics.

The cost of the center is expected to grow from $4.3 million in the first year to about $5.3 million in year five. Those costs will be covered this way:

  • 75 percent: NSF funds
  • 14 percent: ISU funds (central administration, college and department reallocations)
  • 11 percent: membership fees

Vet Med upgrades

The Iowa State community will dedicate Phase 1 of the multi-year improvement plans at the Vet Med college on Oct. 18. In the meantime, an architect and two construction management firms have been approved for Phase 2, which will make the Small Animal Hospital a state-of-the-art facility. Phase 2 includes:

  • A 37,000-square-foot addition
  • Renovation of about 91,000 square feet -- a combination of space vacated by the Large Animal Hospital in Phase 1 and current space in the Small Animal Hospital

Specific shortfalls in the existing hospital that will be corrected are: dated spaces and equipment, health and safety deficiencies, crowding and inefficient patient flow, and security.

Pending final regent approval of completed designs, construction could begin next summer.

The estimated cost for Phase 2 is $45.1 million, and is anticipated to be covered by a combination of regent-issued bonds, state building appropriations and $5 million in private gifts.

During the meeting, the board also approved a prioritized request list to the 2009 Iowa Legislature for state building funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2009. That list includes $38 million for the Phase 2 work.

FY10 budget requests

The board also approved an early list of operating appropriations the regent institutions will seek from the Legislature for the fiscal year that begins next July 1. The request includes an inflationary increase to current funding that is based on the Higher Education Price Index (projected to be 4.9 percent). It also includes requests for additional funding for strategic priorities on the various campuses. Items specific to Iowa State are:

  • $4 million for the Bioeconomy Institute
  • $1 million for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Restoring $1 million to general university funds diverted to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in the current budget
  • $300,000 for Iowa State's new Egg Industry Center approved in March by the regents
  • $4.6 million for economic development initiatives at the three regent universities (at Iowa State, the key recipients would be IPRT, ISU Research Park and the Small Business Development Centers)
  • $200,000 for campus security improvements at all the regent institutions
  • $2.5 million for year two of the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership, which involves the three regent universities but is headquartered at the University of Northern Iowa


Phase 2 of a multi-year improvement plan at the Vet Med college will create a state-of-the-art small animal hospital. When it's complete, the new hospital will include 91,000 square feet of renovated space and 37,000 square feet of new space.