Sept. 15, 2011

ISU will take Knoll upgrades plan to regents next week

by Anne Krapfl

Iowa State will seek permission to make upgrades at the president's residence, The Knoll, when the state Board of Regents meets Sept. 20 in West Des Moines. As proposed, the work would be done before the end of Gregory Geoffroy's presidency and the arrival of the next university president.

The estimated $375,000 cost would be covered with unrestricted private gifts to the ISU Foundation. No state appropriations or tuition money would be used to pay for the modifications.

The Knoll

No major work has been done in more than 30 years to the original portion of the 110-year-old Knoll. Key pieces in the proposed work include remodeling bathrooms on the first and second floors, replacing windows in the 1967 south addition for better energy efficiency, replacing the 20-year-old wool carpet on the main level, painting the interior and exterior, repairing exterior soffits and trim, replacing gutters, and repairing or rebuilding sections of the driveway. Additionally, internet access hubs would be added and minor improvements made to the property's landscaping and outdoor lighting.

Most of the proposed work is to exterior and public areas. Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said the Knoll has more than 5,000 visitors in a typical year and is showing wear. Facilities design officials indicated the upgrades are needed regardless of who becomes Iowa State's next president.

Madden, who has been involved in several presidential transitions and oversees the facility operations, said he is sensitive to the university's economic challenges.

"We are fortunate to have foundation financial resources to support the costs," he said. "These improvements will benefit the thousands of students, faculty, staff, donors and visitors who will visit the Knoll in future years."

Madden also noted that completing the work between presidential occupants will add efficiency to the project.

If approved by the board, exterior work at the Knoll would begin later this month and last about four weeks. The Geoffroys purchased an Ames home and are making plans to move out of the Knoll later this fall to make it available for interior remodeling. Inside work should be completed by early January.

Board policy requires regent schools to get permission for any change or remodel exceeding $10,000 to the state-owned home of an institution leader.

1750 Beardshear

Some additional improvements are planned for the president's office suite in Beardshear Hall prior to the arrival of the next president. No major work or renovations have been done in 1750 Beardshear in more than 20 years.

The suite's 27-year-old carpet will be replaced and underlying asbestos floor tiles in the west end of the suite removed. The lighting and projection system in the conference room will be replaced and furniture upgraded to accommodate the new technology. An existing restroom in the suite will be remodeled and an unused kitchenette converted to a restroom. Walls will be painted and draperies and window blinds will be cleaned or replaced.

This work is scheduled to be completed between mid-November and Jan. 1. The estimated cost, $235,000, also will be covered with private gifts.