Thursday, April 20, 2023

The University of Iowa received approval from the Board of Regents facilities committee to move ahead with work on two prominent buildings on campus.

UI Vice President Rod Lehnertz says they plan to remodel the seventh floor of the Van Allen building. “It’s a building built in the 60s, and it’s showing its age, absolutely. But it is nonetheless very important for us, especially as it relates to our space science and spaceflight hardware work that we do, which is renowned nationwide,” Lehnertz says.

He says the renovations will include humidity control, temperature control, and upgraded classroom space related to grant research.
“It’s well documented, the renown we have with NASA …as described in your document, physics, and astronomy brought in $54 million from NASA in the last five years. And then the largest grant in the history of our university to TRACERS mission, $115 million,” he says. TRACERS is a pair of satellites that will study how the solar wind interacts with the region around Earth dominated by its magnetic field.

Lehnertz says the upgrade is needed to stay on top of the research requirements. “We are regarded highly by NASA. We are partners with them constantly. But their expectations are high for research space on that level,” Lehnertz says. “And it’s happening in a great building named after a great man in James Van Allen, but a building that needs care. And this project will modernize that space.” Van Allen is the UI space scientist who discovered the radiation belts in the upper atmosphere that were later named after him.

The other project involves expanding the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

by Dar Danielson, Radio Iowa


See also this Iowa Now story about Van Allen Hall renovations and other projects are part of the university’s 10-year facilities master plan.