Iowa Alumni Magazine | June 2007 | People

State of the Union

By Shelbi Thomas

More than bricks and mortar, the Iowa Memorial Union has long been an axis of campus life. It's a place where students have studied, socialized, and gathered for lectures, concerts, and movies. A place where they've mourned, celebrated, danced, dined, even married—their memories cemented within its walls.

Since its doors opened in 1925, the IMU has welcomed hundreds of thousands of UI visitors. To accomodate the growing needs of today's UI student, workers recently completed the first phase of the IMU's fifth major renovation. Construction began in November 2005 and concluded this past January.

The results are fresh and practical. Among the noteworthy upgrades, a central staircase and elevator make the building easier to navigate, while a river terrace and small outdoor amphitheater west of the IMU provide a stronger connection between the building and the Iowa River.

Plans for a second phase of the renovation have yet to be finalized, but will likely include further infrastructure improvements and a new food court.

We hope you enjoy this new look at an old friend.

LEFT TO RIGHT: New maps, as well as a central staircase and elevator, make it easier for visitors to find their way around the IMU.

Stepping Out, a bronze sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett, 40MFA, is one of the special touches that give the renovated union its character.

Student requests for enhanced study and lounge space prompted the $9.9 million project, paid for by student fees.

BACKGROUND: Workers restored the Main Lounge to its historic elegance, complete with new black-and-gold carpeting, freshly painted walls, and improved chandelier lighting.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: One of the renovation's major objectives was to increase student study and meeting space. A new copy center and Black Box Theater make the union an even more convenient place for these activities.

The updated University Bookstore—with a sophisticated look that rivals any college bookstore—sells computer software, Hawkeye apparel, and textbooks all on one floor.

Students meet outside the new Student Organization Office Suite on the IMU's second floor. The UI Student Government recently relocated its offices there.

Words from former UI professor and administrator Philiph G. Hubbard, 46BSEE, 49MS, 54PhD, decorate a wall of Hubbard Pavilion and Commons. The pavilion is a three-story infill on the IMU's east side that adds 13,860 square feet to the union.

Flat-screen TVs in Hubbard Commons provide students a much-needed study break. The renovated IMU also features a ground floor plasma TV lounge and Chalktalk, a chalkboard for announcements.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: IMU visitors no longer have to trek downtown for baked goods and a cup of joe from the Java House. The UI Community Credit Union also opened a branch on the IMU's ground floor.

From Madison Street, IMU guests enter into Hubbard Commons. The area includes an art gallery, war memorial, and new fireplace, as well as a renovated University Box Office, Bijou Theater, and Campus Information Center.

The renovation project transformed the old Wheelroom into a sports-themed hangout—called "The Hawkeye"—where students can watch TV, play games, and socialize.

Pool, ping-pong, foosball, and darts offer welcome entertainment to students at "The Hawkeye." A snack shop also serves free popcorn to hungry guests.

Computer terminals on every floor of the union, including these in Hubbard commons, offer students a handy way to check e-mail between classes.