UI wants to rebuild Hancher, Art Building East in different locations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI wants to rebuild Hancher, Art Building East in different locations

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - University of Iowa officials say they want to rebuild the flood-damaged Hancher-Voxmann-Clapp and Art Building East complexes in different locations. They say the threat of future flooding is too great to renovate the buildings in their current spots.

Rebuilding Hancher and the Art Building East elsewhere would cost about $743 million, with the university shouldering about $185 million of that.

The university's music and art departments have been spread out all over Iowa City since last June, but it's been a good experience for many, including Director of Jazz Studies John Rapson. We caught up with him at a rehearsal at Trinity Episcopal Church.

"This facility at Trinity has been so warm and welcoming, and it's a very human facility; lots of light and wood, and we're right downtown where we can interact with a lot of other people," said Rapson.

He and his students now know that their former home may be moved. The possibility is drawing mixed reactions.

"It stinks because i won't be able to be in the facilities as a student," said trumpet player Geoff Wood. "But, I think it is a good idea. I did notice that Voxmann could be better, in that we need more practice rooms and more rehearsal space."

Eric Jesteadt wonders if it wouldn't be better to renovate and protect the building where it stands. "It may be cheaper to put levees up and leave the original Hancher where it was."

But spokesman Steve Parrott says the university has found that moving the buildings will ultimately mean fewer financial worries. "It would be very difficult to protect them from future flooding, and then that makes it difficult to get insurance, in case there would be problems there," said Parrott.

In the meantime, students and faculty say they're making good use of the space they've been given, and are grateful to have it.

"This flood has hit all of us pretty hard, but we're definitely managing," said Jesteadt. 

The university plans to make recommendations to the Board of Regents in June, as to where Hancher should be rebuilt.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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