Student mental health center to replace hotel in Iowa Memorial Union

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:34 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Currently inside the Iowa Memorial Union is the Iowa House Hotel - originally one of the only hotels for visiting families and fans to stay on campus. Since the downtown and campus area have grown, the University has plans to transform the hotel to better serve it’s students.

In less than one year the space will be under construction as crews, interior designers, and university staff will work to bring students one location that will house all of their mental health and well-being services.

“It seemed like a good time for us to get out of the hotel business and to use that space differently,” said VP of Univ. of Iowa Student Life, Sarah Hansen. “It will have student counseling, student health, student wellness, as well as our student care and assistance which helps student manage difficulties like using our emergency fund or food pantry usage.”

While these services aren’t new to UI, the central location is.

For years the IMU has been a hub for students to meet, eat, work, and hang out. Now, it will also be a spot to reinforce one of the school’s top priorities.

“It’s a part of our strategic plan to embed well-being and mental health into all aspects of campus life, not just for students but for everyone who is a part of our community,” said Hansen.

For students like Eden Conroy, this renovation is a visible testament to that commitment.

“Having those resources available is a really nice environment for students in general,” Conroy told TV-9. “It shows that you have that opportunity if you ever need it.”

Leading up to this decision, administration has allowed students to make decisions about how the new space will look, whom it will serve, and what additional services might be offered. As they approach construction, they plan to continue to get their input.

“Their excitement is really a critical part of moving this forward. They’ll continue to be involved as we start designing the spaces,” said Hansen.

The proposed renovation is estimated to cost $81.1 million. Funding for the project, which is part of the university’s 10-year facilities master plan, will be covered primarily by a new student fee of $100 to $120 per semester.