UNI Officials Seek Regents Approval to Demolish Price Lab

By Diane Heldt, Reporter

Price Lab students, faculty and guests enjoy a picnic lunch at the Price Lab Field Day Tuesday, May 29, 2012. (BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - University of Northern Iowa officials will seek state Board of Regents approval to demolish most of the Price Laboratory School building on the UNI campus.

The issue will go to the regents next week, during a meeting Wednesday. The meeting information was released Thursday.

UNI officials want to demolish the Price Lab building except for the field house and the west wing, which is being renovated to house the Child Development Center, according to the meeting information. Price Lab sits on the north edge of the UNI campus, with the oldest portion of the school built in 1953. The field house was destroyed by an arson fire in 1993 and replaced in 1995.

In the 2012 facilities report, UNI officials listed $17 million in deferred maintenance in the school, or about 30 percent of the total campus general fund building deferred maintenance, according to the regents docket.

The portion of the school for which demolition is requested represents about 70 percent of the building square footage, and that space is "no longer needed," officials said in the regents docket. The estimated cost of demolition if $500,000.

Price Lab School closed in June, as part of UNI budget cuts. The regents approved the school closing last February.

A group of parents and educators fought to keep Price Lab school open, filing a lawsuit last spring. A judge ruled against the group, siding with the regents. Supporters claimed the board overstepped its authority when it voted to close the school, arguing the Price Lab facility was to be used as the site of the State Research and Development School established by lawmakers, and legislators didn’t grant the regents the ability to close it.

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