UI starts construction on $249M Health Sciences Academic Building

IOWA CITY — University of Iowa leaders broke ground Tuesday afternoon on a quarter-billion dollar building that will eventually be home to three of the UI’s most popular and top-ranked programs.

Rod Lehnertz, the UI’s senior vice president for finance and operations, says the structure will house Communication Sciences and Disorders, including audiology and speech-language pathology, Health and Human Physiology, and the Carver College of Medicine’s Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services.

“We believe by doing this project for these programs, bringing them together, to work together,” Lehnertz says, “they’ll not only receive and work with modern facilities and top-notch facilities, but be able to do so in coordination with each other.”

Once complete, Lehnertz says the Health Sciences Academic Building will be a stunning addition to the campus, filled with classrooms, offices, laboratories and more — while also being welcoming to visitors and patients.

“These programs do serve research functions and have subjects from the public that come and interact with the programs, and so we’ll have that sort of patient feel as well, outward reaching,” Lehnertz says. “It’s a building that will serve multiple functions and for three important programs.”

The six-story structure will have a modern look, mostly glass merged with a white cast-stone material, located just south of Slater Residence Hall.

“It’s a building that will carry an important site, one that is very visible as one approaches and drives along the south edge of our west campus on Melrose,” Lehnertz says. “It will run along the parking lot we refer to as Parking Lot 14, that is the site of the building.”

The first phase of the $249-million structure should be complete in mid-2025. A UI news release says the building will be funded through a combination of University Hospitals Building Usage Funds, university investment income, and private donations — with no state funds.