Editors Note: The previous article published in our last issue (Oct. 4) included outdated and incorrect information. This article provides the most updated and correct information regarding the modernization of the Industrial Technology Center.
With no significant upgrades in 47 years, the Industrial Technology Center (ITC) is finally receiving much needed renovations starting in May 2022.
The total budget for renovations is $44,776,000, approved by the Board of Regents. The building will receive renovations to the existing facility on the southeast side, and a new addition will be added to the northwest portion of the building.
The process for getting the modernization of the building approved has taken years. According to the Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences John Fritch, UNI first made the proposal for renovations in 2017, and later proposed it to the legislature in 2018. However the proposals were turned down due to funding. In 2020 the project received partial funding, and full funding was granted this year.
The building is in dire need of an upgrade, as little work has been done to keep up with the growing technology fields.
“The building was built in 1975 and it was state of the art for 1975,” Fritch said. “It is still state of the art for 1975.”
He continued, “The second thing is the structure of the building is dated. For example, each faculty office has only one power outlet. So you know, they had a place for a lamp and eventually a typewriter. But now nobody can get by with one outlet in their office. But now we’re doing robotics, and those kinds of things. We just do not have the power in there. Plus we’ve outgrown the building. We need much more space.”
The renovation will allow UNI to develop new programs in continuously emerging fields, and engage students in interactive learning and projects. The building renovations are specifically designed to be flexible and create space for new work.
“Who knows what the world will bring in 20 years, so we want to be ready to make those kinds of changes,” Fitch said.
Additionally the technology program hopes to attract new students.
“We’ll be better able to tell students what it is that we actually do,” Fitch said. “Now you walk in the building and it looks like a very old out of date building, so they may assume our programs are that way as well. We think students will better understand what we do.”
The modernization project has received generous donations from sponsors to assist with the cost. Dave and Karen Takes donated $10 million to UNI in 2019, and $1 million of that money will be used with renovations. John Deere is providing $750,000 for the project, and Master Builders of Iowa is contributing $250,000. Fitch acknowledges how proud they are to have people and corporations recognize all the hard work the technology department at UNI has accomplished, and will continue to accomplish.