The UIU Student Center opened to
students in Spring 2011 and will
have its grand opening and
ribbon cutting on September 16.
The building includes a large
commons are with a variety
of dining options, also open to
the public; computer kiosks
throughout the building;
and the Peacock Connection, which
offers books and logo merchandise.
FAYETTE, Iowa (September 1, 2011) — Upper Iowa University will celebrate its new Student Center during a formal grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting on Friday, September 16, as part of Homecoming weekend. The $16.3 million building was constructed as part of Phase 1 of UIU’s largest capital improvement project in its history, which has also seen construction of a liberal arts building, a suite-style residence hall, and a downtown restaurant, as well as other campus improvements.
The program begins at 3:30 p.m. under a tent at the south end of Grace Meyer Square. U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley has been invited and is expected to be on hand for the festivities, which also feature UIU President Alan G. Walker, Board Chair Bob Firth, Dean of Student Development Louise Stivers-Scott, ARAMARK Representative Trevor Ferguson, and Student Government Association President Anthony DiJohn. The ribbon cutting will follow under the building’s north portico. Tours and a reception also are planned.
“We not only have been able to create showpieces for Upper Iowa University and the Fayette region, but we also have created exceptional learning and living environments for UIU students,” Walker said. “These state-of-the-art buildings are beautiful, functional, efficient and gentler on the environment.”
“We are continuing to grow as an ascending university, committed to academic quality and excellence,” Walker added. “At a time when the economy has forced many other colleges and universities to cut back, we have been able to focus on building what today’s students expect. To take us further into a successful future, we also have launched the public phase of our first-ever comprehensive capital campaign for $25 million.”
“I am very proud of seeing UIU grow in such a visible and significant way,” said Bob Firth, chair of the UIU Board of Trustees. “This initiative is symbolic of our solid financial strength, our steady and continuing growth in all areas, and our commitment to a future in which UIU continues to expand and provide quality educational opportunities to students of all ages and backgrounds on campus, in our center locations, and through our distance education programs.”
When the Student Center first opened for business last spring, Walker said it was the realization of goals he set when he arrived on campus in July 2004.“One of the first things I noted on campus was the lack of a ‘commons,’ an open place where faculty, staff, and students could come together, especially for lunch, to share ideas, build relationships, and reinforce a culture of openness, communication, collegiality, and understanding over the shared human experience of enjoying meals together,” he explained. “UIU has a very positive culture and camaraderie, but the absence of such a venue for ‘cross-pollination’ was like a hole in the social fabric of our institution. This facility is the social centerpiece for the University and strengthens our sense of community.”
The 58,862-square-foot Student Center houses a variety of student services and community spaces. The Commons is the central dining and gathering place immediately adjacent to food services operated by ARAMARK. The Office of Student Development has a suite of office spaces, meeting spaces and locations for student organizations on the second floor. In addition, there is a multi-functional ballroom, which can be used as separate spaces or a single room. It has already been the site of several weddings and catered events. Also located on the second floor is a student leadership center, commuter lounge and game room. The Peacock Connection is located downstairs and offers textbooks and UIU logo merchandise. The Hub, immediately at the building’s entrance, offers a source of one-stop information about the University. Computer kiosks are available throughout the building.
“The Student Center is also open to the general public as a dining alternative, for meetings and for catered events,” Walker noted. “ARAMARK has proven to be a strong partner for proving excellent dining services at Upper Iowa University.”
The dining services offer all-you-care-to-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with brick-oven pizza, a grill area, a large salad bar, expanded deli, and other daily specials. A highlight of the food service is the region’s first, on-campus Mongolian grill. Diners can create their own stir-fry combinations from a selection of meats, noodles, vegetables and Asian-inspired sauces. Campus dining also includes the “Pete’s Place” snack bar, and a coffee shop. Take-out food is available.
The Student Center is built to be gentler on the environment including clerestory windows that allow light to enter interior second floor spaces and reduce energy consumption, a geothermal system for heating and cooling and for the kitchen refrigeration system, daylight harvesting sensors and use of sustainable construction materials – such as polished concrete. By taking these steps, instead of simply following the standards in the Iowa building code, engineers expect the energy bill to be reduced by $70,525 a year, according to Alliant Energy. As a part of Alliant Energy’s Commercial New Construction program, the UIU project qualified for an incentive of $158,432.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to nearly 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.