UI halts future construction projects in response to budget cuts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI halts future construction projects in response to budget cuts

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

UPDATE: We are hearing from the University of Iowa after they announced campus construction and maintenance will be put on hold for five months. 

The moratorium is to manage a budget cut of $5.49 Million from the state. 

"This was an effort we could make as an entire campus that we felt comfortable would not impact our students, would not impact the faculty moving forward. There are obviously impacts as far as deferred projects with every one of them being important to the stakeholders," says Rod Lehnertz, UI Senior Vice President of Finance & Operations. 

The university says they should have around $40 Million a year to commit to maintenance and modernization but that's not the case. 

"After 2016 and since those cuts we are now about half of what we should be spending to care for this campus. And of course, deferring work on our campus for five months during this moratorium only exacerbates that challenge," Lehnertz told us. 

Some larger projects are also impacted by the delay like construction of the new Museum of Art. 

KWWL's Kristin Rogers contributed to this report. 

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From education facilities to healthcare, and athletics; the University of Iowa is putting a halt to its upcoming construction and improvement projects to make up for $5.5 million in mid-year budget cuts.

The university announced a five-month moratorium on Thursday which would affect more than 100 campus projects. The majority of them are small, maintenance-related projects, according to the university, but there are a number of big ones that will also hit the brakes.

One of the most anticipated projects was a new $50 million art museum. The museum has been without a proper home for nearly a decade, after the 2008 floods damaged the original building. The new facility was supposed to break ground in 2018 and open in 2020. The timetable for the project is now unknown.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will forgo, for now, a $120 million expansion project at the Iowa River Landing area in Coralville. The hospital also had $120 million in improvements planned.

Other projects delayed will be a new $10 million Finkbine golf clubhouse, renovations for the Field House that would remove the pool and add three tiers of workout space, and the Linquist Center that planned to modernize its student academic center.

"None of these outcomes are desirable, but current circumstances have forced the UI to make these difficult decisions," UI President Bruce Harreld said in a release.

The release said, come September, they would circle back and decide whether or not to continue the moratorium or to resume the projects.

Exceptions to the moratorium are:

  • Projects that have been bid and awarded or are already in the construction phase
  • Projects addressing specific patient safety, public safety, or code concerns
  • Emergency projects (typically related to critical/time-sensitive facility repairs)
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