Weekly Feature

Wednesday, Sep 13, 2017

Ensuring Iowa is equipped for success

"It's beautiful, that's all I can think of to explain it." It has been over 40 years since a UNI student used that sentence to describe the Industrial Technology Center (ITC). While the building was a technological marvel for its day, the passage of time and changes in technology have caught up to the building’s infrastructure.

University of Northern Iowa

As approved by the Iowa Board of Regents at their September meeting, UNI is requesting $36.2 million from the Iowa Legislature, over the next three years, for the renovation and expansion of the ITC. Originally built in 1974, the building is programmatically obsolete and in need of improvements to be better able to educate today's students in a 21st century environment.

In order to provide the needed space for training, student interaction, and the technology-heavy labs that meet the current and future industry standards, this project proposes to renovate the existing building and expand. The renovated and expanded building would include modernized and enlarged labs to meet the growing demands and changes of the technology industry, enlarged and reconfigured classrooms to support team-based learning, and additional space for student collaboration; whether as a group, meeting with faculty and staff, working with a student organization, socializing or studying individually.

Not only will the renovation allow UNI to modernize the curriculum to provide engaged learning, develop new programs in emerging fields and engage students at all levels in research projects, but it will also provide economic development to the state. The renovated facility will allow improved preparation of UNI students, as well as Iowa’s high school students, for employment in current or emerging occupations.

The Department of Technology will continue to partner with the community to create real-world challenges in the classroom by becoming a sought-after resource for real-world research that engages students and by expanding on the success of the top-­rated metal casting program and Metal Casting and Additive Manufacturing Center. Additionally, we will seek opportunities to showcase the university's success through outreach and engagement by collaborating with university partners to build technical support and expertise with industry and expound upon the university's role as a technology school that fills the gap between trade schools and engineering schools.

The request also supports the Iowa Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education program by preparing the teachers who will prepare secondary school students and to educate the workforce in industrial and construction fields. These programs are designed to prepare students to meet the needs of Iowa's workforce and to provide broad experience in technology, construction and manufacturing. Additionally, the department is instrumental in preparing teachers in technology fields, fulfilling the need for STEM teachers.

The ITC houses the Department of Technology, whose programs include construction management, electrical engineering technology, graphic technologies, manufacturing technology, technology education, technology management and graduate programs.


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