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Regents to resume UI search

‘No-confidence’ votes today, Wednesday

Diane Heldt

The Gazette

December 12, 2006

Scott Dochterman, Board of Regents Approves Carver Project

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

  IOWA CITY — The state Board of Regents will resume discussing the struggling University of Iowa presidential search Monday in a telephone conference call.

  Regents President Michael Gartner said he expects the regents will talk about a new search process during the 5 p.m. meeting.

  ‘‘I do know there’s a real sense among the regents as well as the Iowa City community to move ahead with deliberate speed,’’ he said.

  Regent Bob Downer of Iowa City said moving the stalled search forward with some urgency is important, as it’s been nearly 11 months since David Skorton announced his resignation for the Cornell University presidency. Downer said he would like to see a hire made by early summer, with a new president on campus for the fall 2007 semester.

  The search has hit several rough patches and led to tense relations between board leadership and UI faculty, staff and student leaders. The regents on Nov. 17 voted 62 to reject four candidates recommended by a search committee, disband the committee and launch a new search. The regents said last week  the search must be restarted after a finalist they reconsidered  said no. The UI Faculty Senate votes on a resolution of no confidence in regents’ leadership today. The Staff Council votes on a resolution Wednesday. Gartner of Des Moines said the votes will have no impact on him, and he will continue to do his job.

  Downer said the new search must be collaborative. He would not be opposed to a UI dean leading the search but would not name one.

  ‘‘We need to learn from the past process and try to correct whatever mistakes were made,’’ he said. Downer said that, while he feels ‘‘no-confidence’’ votes are up to UI faculty and staff, he hopes campus leaders don’t burn bridges with the regents.

  Regent Mary Ellen Becker of Oskaloosa said public campus interviews with finalists, a tradition in past searches, may not be reasonable.

  ‘‘I don’t see that as the direction the candidates themselves are choosing, and you have to react to that,’’ Becker said.

  While it’s unlikely candidate names will be discussed Monday, the discussion may go beyond process, Gartner said. He was unsure if the meeting would be closed.

Board of Regents approves Carver project

Arena renovation, other upgrades bring $40 million price tag

Scott Dochterman

The Gazette

December 12, 2006

  IOWA CITY — Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta plans to waste little time starting Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s renovation.

  ‘‘Our timetable exists of going out and hiring architects, and we’ll attempt to get that process started immediately,’’ Barta said, ‘‘so that shortly after the first of the year, we can move in on that front.’’ Iowa’s Board of Regents approved a plan with little discussion Monday to renovate Carver-Hawkeye Arena for up to $40 million.

  The University of Iowa’s athletics department will incur the cost through either fundraising or its general budget. The upgrade includes additional practice courts, alternative stairwells — such as an escalator — and possibly a club section.

  Barta has not set a timetable for completion.

  Carver- Hawkeye Arena, which opened in 1983 for $18.4 million, is just one of many projects on the approved facility plan. The board also approved an upgrade to the Jacobson Building, which is used for many Olympic sports. Also on the facility master plan includes a boathouse for the rowing team, and upgrades to Finkbine Golf Course’s clubhouse and the Field House’s gymnastics facilities.

  Iowa completed an $88 million reconstruction of Kinnick Stadium in September. In October, Barta pledged $9 million toward a $69 million recreation and wellness center that includes facilities for the team’s swimming programs.

  Since 2002, Iowa has completed a new indoor/outdoor tennis and recreation center, a new field hockey stadium, soccer stadium and Hall of Fame for about $22 million. The new facility plan could total more than $50 million. ‘‘I think what you have to look at is when were our facilities actually built,’’ said Jane Meyer, Iowa’s senior associate athletics director. ‘‘I mean, Kinnick was 75 years old. Carver is over 20 years, nearing 25 years old. So when you look at our aging facilities, you have to look at the decision we made about Kinnick: Do you build them or do you renovate? There have been no major renovations to Carver- Hawkeye Arena, so what we have to do is evaluate that, and say what can we do, what do we need to do, and what can we afford to do?’’

  Meyer said the department has hired an architect for the boathouse, which could cost as much as $5 million.

  Barta also discussed renovating or rebuilding the Iowa indoor football facility — also known as the bubble -- to accommodate baseball, softball and golf during inclement weather. Right now, the department just plans a feasibility study.

‘‘Several of our facilities were quite old, so really with the opportunity to do some maintenance upgrades and while you’re doing that, take a look at some needs and in this case, court space, fan amenities,’’ Barta said. ‘‘Really it’s been 25 years since this building — which is still a great building — has had a significant face-lift.’’