University of Iowa

Iowa City,

Student Union Feasibility Analysis

B&D was engaged by the University of Iowa in 1998 to examine the university’s needs and preferences for possible renovations and additions to its Iowa Memorial Union building (IMU). The IMU enjoyed a prominent location in the center of campus and included a wide range of traditional student union facilities such as food service, a bookstore, meeting and function spaces, social lounges, a computer lab, student government/organization spaces, and the campus information center. Due to the age of the original portion of the building and the nature of several expansions, the facility was being viewed as inefficient. Our scope of work included interviews, focus groups, and surveys with students, staff, and faculty; development of a program for proposed improvements; an assessment of existing financial support for the improvements; and the development of a detailed financial model for all operations. Our research revealed significant support for the IMU improvements and approval of the $50/semester student fee required to support the proposed program. The highest priority spaces for improvement/addition were food service, study areas, a coffee house / Internet café, and computer labs. An architectural program was then developed for the food service and bookstore areas, improved internal circulation, the addition of a large study area with a café, and relocation of student life/ government spaces. Renovations were completed in 2006. The $9.9 million project included the addition of 13,000 SF.


The University of Iowa will go back to the drawing board for some of its Iowa Memorial Union design aspects presented Thursday to the Iowa state Board of Regents.