More than 100 classrooms to receive upgrades before classes begin

Funding in FY24 will support new furniture and locks designed to enhance classroom accessibility and security.
Thursday, July 13, 2023

By Katie Linder 

The University of Iowa is investing $2 million to modernize 175 classrooms across 25 buildings—mostly used by UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students and faculty.  

The upgrades include new classroom furniture that is designed to be inclusive, accessible, and mobile. Most of these improvements will be made over the summer and be ready by the time classes begin on Monday, August 21, 2023.  

Photos of a classroom with older furniture vs new furniture
This image compares older classroom furniture against the new. Funiture colors for this latest installment will be neutral. 

“The new furniture will improve the collaboration experience for discussion or standalone sections where instructors want to group students. Right now, it’s hard to do that in classrooms where the chairs do not move easily,” explains Renee Houser, UI director of classroom management and operations.  

“These improvements will bring the classrooms to a more modern standard,” she adds.  

In addition to improved mobility, tablets on the student furniture will also have the flexibility to be set for left or right-handed students, and seats will offer more space. A number of classrooms will also receive adjustable height tables. Funding for FY2024 will also support adding door locks to 29 classrooms in seven buildings.  

Summer projects include:  

  • Adding priority seating for ADA upgrades in 143 university classrooms.  
  • Updating student chairs, desks, or tables in 32 classrooms 
  • Upgrades to instructor chairs or tables in 55 classrooms.   

Upgrades will take place in the following spaces:  

  • Art Building West (3 rooms) 
  • Adler Journalism Building (11 rooms) 
  • Becker Communication Studies Building (3 rooms) 
  • Chemistry Building (8 rooms) 
  • English Philosophy Building (28 rooms) 
  • Field House (7 rooms) 
  • Jessup Hall (4 rooms) 
  • MacBride Hall (7 rooms) 
  • MacLean Hall (12 rooms) 
  • North Hall (9 rooms) 
  • Psychological and Brain Sciences Building (1 rooms) 
  • Phillips Hall (19 rooms) 
  • Schaeffer Hall (14 rooms) 
  • Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center (3 rooms) 
  • Trowbridge Hall (1 rooms) 
  • Visual Arts Building (4 rooms) 
  • Van Allen Hall (16 rooms) 
  • Voxman Music Building (3 rooms) 

Full student furniture replacements will take place in: 

  • Becker Communication Studies Building rooms 201, 203, and 205  
  • North Hall rooms 205, 208, 215, 220, and 316  
  • Phillips Hall rooms 19, 23, 25, 205, 212, 317, 464, 468, 472, and 476 
  • Van Allen Hall rooms 53, 63, 65, 67, 156, 167, 168, and 169 

Public-Private Partnership (P3) funds will cover the cost of these improvements, which support the University of Iowa’s strategic plan goals of excellence in teaching and learning, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, and holistic well-being and success.  

More classroom updates will be made as funding allows. If you have feedback on these or other improvements to classrooms, email Instructor and student feedback could help secure more funding for future enhancements.  

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.