Regents Approve U. Iowa's Special Authority In Reconstruction

This story was written by Olivia Moran, The Daily Iowan
The state Board of Regents approved the University of Iowa's building-recovery plan on Wednesday, a move intended to significantly speed up restoration projects on campus.

The regents voted unanimously in favor of the plan, with Regent Robert Downer abstaining.

Gov. Chet Culver announced on Tuesday that the regents will not be required to request bids and proposals for the recovery projects as they normally would. Instead, UI officials will immediately begin developing contracts and begin needed reconstruction during a time officials are calling an extreme emergency.

"I think it really allows the university to get a head start," Regents' President David Miles said.

Though the UI's summer classes were delayed for one week, officials expect the fall classes to begin on time.

In the proclamation signed by Culver, he wrote that the regents and UI authorities "have worked with a number of highly qualified contractors and vendors over the years and could identify and engage them in a matter of days and weeks, rather than months, to expedite this work."

So far, 16 firms have been qualified for relief projects in general contracting, electrical, mechanical, and utilities on campus.

The UI's recovery plan separates the affected 19 buildings into four reconstruction methods.

Seven campus buildings, the Hawkeye Court Apartments, the softball stadium, and some parking booths and storage buildings are estimated to have sustained damage less than $100,000. According to the plan, the UI will directly enter contracts with specific firms for these projects, skipping the bid process.

Ten UI buildings, including Mayflower and most of the Art Campus, will undergo "fast-track" reconstruction, which the plan reads could require double shifts. Qualified contractors will take part in an abbreviated bidding period.

The IMU non-mechanical space, the Art Building, and the Cretzmeyer Track are already under reconstruction. The plan requires construction for these buildings to also be fast-tracked.

Officials say the Museum of Art and the English-Philosophy Building may not be rebuilt to preflood conditions and will follow usual bidding procedures, according to the plan.

The regents also voted 8-1 in favor of seeking authority to skip the bidding procedure during an emergency in the upcoming special legislative session of the General Assembly.

Mark Braun, a the UI state relations officer, said he has no explanation on why the regents don't already hold the sought-after authority.

The recent declaration, however, "simply removes any questions in the events of an emergency," he said.

E-mail DI reporter Olivia Moran at: