UI receives approval to plan for new dorm, sell Mayflower

IOWA CITY — The Board of Regents has given approval to the University of Iowa to begin planning for a new dorm and the possible sale of the current Mayflower dorm.

UI Vice president for finance and operations Rod Lehnertz says the new dorm would cost between $40 and 60 million and be tailored to the needs of returning students. “More of the suite style residence halls with more single rooms grouped in small communities for social interactions, and close to our residence hall systems our food service on the east side,” Lehnertz says.

He says they have a couple of potential sites for the new dorm that are near the current dorms on the east side of campus. “So these allow us to use university owned land close in and in very good locations both for classes and for proximity to the other residence halls,” he says.

Lehnertz says the returning students are often those who transfer, or are coming back to college. He says they benefit from living on campus by meeting people and making connections. “The apartment market in Iowa City generally requires that students establish their group of friends that are going to lease an apartment for their second year, by October or early November. And this is quite a challenge for many students, establishing who your good friends are, good influences are,” Lehnertz says.

He says the Mayflower dorms location one mile from campus makes it the least desired for the new students who end up there, and that is why they want to sell it. Lehnertz says Mayflower was a two tower building that was originally built as an apartment and would be desirable for those who want to make it back into apartments. “We’ve made some connections between the two towers, but two elevator shaft systems… and when one thinks about how it could be used either as an apartment or condos or others for a private developer — you could treat it as two different towers, modernized in different ways, whether it’s housing or otherwise,” he says. 

Lehnertz says they would look at the possibility of using the proceeds of the Mayflower sale to help pay for the new dorm.

The new dorm plans and the sale of Mayflower are part of the overall housing master plan that includes renovations of the existing dormitories.