University of Iowa Inaugurates Restored Memorial Union

The University of Iowa (UI) reopens the ground-floor of the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) on Wednesday, seven years after it was damaged by floodwaters in 2008. IMU served as a student hub and was one of the most cherished buildings at the university campus.

The historic IMU building was destroyed despite flood emergency plans in place, as the Iowa River swelled and inundated the bank, wrecking the 90-year-old treasured building in one of the worst natural disasters in US history.

The devastating flood knocked down 20 UI buildings and ruined more than 2.5 million square feet of the campus. The building has been renovated at a cost of $27.5 million which forms part of flood recovery project of $743 million in damage and recovery costs.

UI President Sally Mason stated on Wednesday at the IMU,” We failed miserably but, as you can see, we’ve come back rather magnificently”.

Lehnertz, Director of planning, design and construction and Interim Senior Vice President explained that initially the administration had thought of modernising the space during the IMU restoration. He added that however, to maximize reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the restoration plans were changed and it was decided to renovate the building according to the same design that the building had prior to being flooded.

Lehnertz said,” Putting it back the way it was the only viable option, and a lot of this building is just what the students want and need”.

The renovated IMU has a food court, convenience store, coffee shop, TV and study lounge, performance space, printing access, and additionally a new Iowa Hawk Shop and bookstore.

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