Regents History: November 17, 1993
- Marvin Berenstein, President, Sioux City
- Thomas Collins, Cedar Rapids
- Thomas Dorr, Marcus
- Betty Jean Furgerson, Waterloo
- Elizabeth Hendricks, Cedar Rapids
- Melissa Johnson-Matthews, Webb
- Owen Newlin, Des Moines
- Nancy Pellett, Atlantic
- John Tyrrell, Manchester
Dr. Herbert Stafford, library director at UNI, presented the annual report on libraries to the Board. This report touched on the future of distance education within the Regents Enterprise. At the time, the Regent Institutions’ distance education programs were offered through the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and through the mail. Dr. Stafford’s report was forward-thinking, stating that the future of distance education will be online. From the minutes:
“After overcoming copyright and ownership problems, which he said is a major issue, [instructors] will be able to transmit text, and people will be able to read it essentially wherever they have [internet] access.”
The Board heard the annual report on extension and continuing education, which reaffirmed the importance of the newly operational ICN. The report lists five priorities, with expanded access and capacity for the ICN as the most pressing.
Iowa State University officials requested Board approval to begin formal planning for new offices and training facilities for the athletics department. The project eventually became the Jacobson Athletic Building, which overlooks Jack Trice Stadium from the north end zone. The building is named for Des Moines businessman and philanthropist Richard O. Jacobson, who was the project’s lead donor. The Board also approved a $990,000 budget for Hilton Coliseum renovations, following damage from the flood of 1993.
UNI officials requested approval of a project description and budget for construction of a new $17.9 million facility “to accommodate the recreation/wellness needs of the university community.” What resulted was the Wellness and Recreation Center on the western edge of UNI’s campus. The WRC opened to rave reviews in 1997, but its construction was not without bumps in the road. The recreational pool, specifically its waterslide, drew criticism from many who called it “extravagant.” Board President Marvin Berenstein was among those offering criticism, saying “As a taxpayer, this seems to me to be a pretty fancy, high-class fitness center.” Berenstein, the rest of the Board, and the UNI community were swayed, in part, by overwhelming student support for the project.