University Of Northern Iowa Housing

University Of Northern Iowa Housing – The Tower complex is a public attraction. The sheer height of Bender Hall and Dancer Hall makes the complex a dominant architectural feature on the west side of Cedar Falls. Although the complex is interesting as a collection of buildings built in a certain place and time, it also deserves attention as the home of several generations of University students. The development of tradition and the transformation of buildings into pleasant places to live is the work of these students throughout the forty-year history of the complex. This essay is about how the complex was planned and built, as well as the good and bad times that the residents went through. But, most importantly, they will tell you how the tenants and the University administration worked together to improve the quality of life in the complex.

The history of the planning and construction of the Tower Complex is complex and confusing. This is at least in part due to the challenges college and university administrators faced in dealing with the extraordinary increase in employment in the mid-to-late 1960s, when baby boomers began to reach college age. In Cedar Falls, the quiet Iowa Teachers College, which had an enrollment of 3,616 in 1960, became the University of Northern Iowa, which had an enrollment of 9,723 in 1970. Acquiring six thousand additional students in just a decade was a daunting task for the state. institution like UNI where all construction projects had to go through layers of bureaucracy and then compete for attention with other worthy projects in the Iowa General Assembly.

University Of Northern Iowa Housing

University Of Northern Iowa Housing

The Regents Complex, built in the mid-1960s and consisting of Noeren Hall, Hagemann Hall, Shull Hall, and Ryder Hall, was the first significant housing project developed by the college to meet the needs of the growing student population in the 1960s. But there was a clear need for even more housing on campus than in the Regents complex. At its January 1966 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the construction of a $2.8 million residence hall to house six hundred students. The dormitory will be built north of Campbell Hall and will be connected to Campbell Hall through an expanded common dining hall.

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Details about the new hostel appeared in the spring of 1966. The building was supposed to be fourteen stories high for men. Construction was scheduled to begin in November 1966 and, with luck, could be occupied during the fall semester of 1967. Architects and campus officials debated whether the building would be constructed in the traditional red brick and limestone style or in a more modern concrete style. steel and glass. Speculation also began to surface that a second high-rise would be constructed northwest of Campbell Hall and the new residence hall.

The reaction to the plans for the new building was not entirely favorable. Professor Joseph Fox wrote in the student newspaper The College Eye that there seems to be no good reason to build a tall building in a place like Cedar Falls. He said, “I just can’t understand a mind that wants to build a skyscraper in the middle of a cornfield.” Professor Fox called a meeting to discuss the matter, but only a few students, faculty and administrators attended. The planning administrators present were prepared to defend their recommendations. They indicated that the location and relatively smaller floor plan of the tall building would save space for academic buildings in the central part of the campus. The new residence hall project will have one central corridor that will limit disruptive traffic to other campus buildings. They also pointed out that using caissons in foundation construction would be more economical than using solid foundations for conventional buildings. They believed that the individual floors of the tall building would be combined into functional social units.

In May 1966, the regents approved tentative plans for a new senior residence, although one of the regents called it “a shock to the horizon.” It will be white concrete with vertical lines and tinted glass. The building will be 50 feet by 150 feet, with rooms 12 feet by 14 feet. Instead of the original fourteen levels, there were now thirteen levels in the plans. Smith, Voorhees and Jensen Architects Associated of Des Moines reduced the original plan by one story to keep the project within its $2.88 million budget. For the same reason, the architects also removed the toilets in the rooms, although they will appear again in later plans. Final plans will be submitted to the Regents in September, after which it will take thirty to forty days for applications to be submitted. The construction was supposed to be completed in eighteen months, that is, by the spring of 1968.

But in October 1966, UNI officials changed their minds. The regents were told they did not believe one building could accommodate the expected increase in enrollment. It is proposed to build another identical tower. The plan to share the dining hall with Campbell Hall was abandoned. Two multi-story buildings will be converted into a new complex with its own restaurant. Moreover, the dining hall will be able to serve the third tower in the complex. The $25,000 already spent planning the Campbell Hall Common Dining Center will be lost, but a considerable amount of money can be saved by using the same plan for the second tower that has already been developed for the first tower. The regents approved preliminary plans for this modified arrangement and allocated $6.15 million for it. It’s interesting to note that one choir director, William Quarton, said it’s time for UNI to get serious help with campus planning.

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In February 1967, the Regents approved final plans and a $6.2 million budget for the complex, which consisted of a dining hall and two thirteen-level dormitories, each capable of housing about six hundred students. Construction began that same month, with hopes of completion in the fall of 1968. In July 1967, the Regents approved a budget increase of $6.32 million. In August 1967, they named the project the Towers Complex; they also decided to honor the memory of their longtime secretary, David A. Dancer, by naming the East Hall after him.

On November 9, 1967, the Regents approved the naming of the west tower after Paul F. Bender.

Professor Bender was a faculty member from 1921 to 1964. He was dean of men from 1948 to 1952 and dean of students from 1952 to 1964. Bender also coached track and field, wrestling and football at various points in his career at UNI.

University Of Northern Iowa Housing

By fall 1967, construction on the towers and dining hall was progressing fairly well, but UNI asked the contractor to make a special effort to complete at least the west tower by fall 1968.

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There was also talk of a third tower. Marshall Beard, registrar and planning administrator, stated that “a third home for 800 students is in the planning stages.”

But the contractors encountered obstacles. On February 12, 1968, about seventy-five workers in the physical plant of the University left work for two hours. On February 20, almost all the workers of the Physical Factory went on strike and lined up pickets. Workers working on the tower project refused to cross the line and construction was halted. On February 24, the university received a temporary ban on gatherings and work on the towers resumed.

The cool March weather also played a role in the construction delay; exterior work and roof work could not be carried out in strong winds. Also on March 14, a small fire occurred that damaged electrical installations and hoses in part of the building. As the prospects for occupancy grew dim in the fall of 1968, UNI administrators began to draw up contingency plans for the dormitories. Daryl Pendergraft, assistant to the president, stated that the university considered tripling its existing dorm rooms, using common rooms or even off-campus housing during the first few weeks of the 1968 fall semester. It was also possible to occupy the finished floors in the new building while the other parts were still under construction.

The fall semester of 1968 arrived, and none of the towers had been completed. The west tower, the men’s unit, was to be occupied in mid-November or December. The women’s section of Dancer Hall was expected to be ready for occupancy by June 1969. As a result, Baker Hall, then still in its original dormitory function, was 75% overcrowded; Ryder and Shull halls were exceeded by 55%. Twenty-three women lived in the attics of Bartlett Hall and Lowther Hall. Officials are still considering how to formalize the transition to the new hostels. At one point, officials planned to convert the west tower into a dormitory, at least until Dancer Hall was completed; 307 men and 216 women will live there. But those plans were never destined to come true. Although much of the building was still under construction, in January two hundred people occupied the ninth through twelfth floors of Bender Hall.

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Winda Salim

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