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Redeker Center grand re-opening and Panther Village Phase 2 dedication is big success

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More than 150 students, staff, faculty and guests gathered to celebrate the grand re-opening of Redeker Center and the dedication of Panther Village Phase II on October 9.  Stanley and Maxine Redeker were special guests.  Redeker Center was named after Stanley Redeker, who was president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, 1965-1973.  The Redekers live in Boone, Iowa.  The speakers for the event included Glenn Gray, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Executive Director of Residence; William N. Ruud, President; Regent Milt J. Dakovich; Terry Hogan, Vice President for Student Affairs; and Ramya Varadaraju, a resident of Panther Village and student employee. 

In his remarks at the event, Glenn Gray focused on the impact of the project on student development, “What is a university housing and dining program if it is not about supporting student learning and academic success? Both of these exceptional facilities, which we are here to celebrate today, serve as an extension of UNI’s mission to educate. They have been designed and constructed, and now staffed and managed, to support student recruitment; to impact student growth and development; and to facilitate the academic persistence of our students at UNI." 

He also thanked the celebration committee.  The committee was chaired by Carol Petersen, Director of Dining Services, and included representation from several other divisions.

"The talents of many individuals contributed to the success of these projects," said Gray. "I cannot overstate the exceptional performance of the Department of Residence staff who managed to continue feeding thousands of students at Piazza while the building was an active construction site.  Biscotti's convenience store, Fresh Beginnings, transportation staff and the Department of Residence central office were relocated temporarily during the construction.  All services continued," he said.

"Department of Residence custodial and maintenance staff added the clean-up required for a timely opening of Redeker Center and Panther Village to a schedule that included preparing residence halls for more than 4000 students.  It was an impressive effort and the results were worthy."

Refreshments and tours of Redeker Center and Panther Village followed the ceremony.

Redeker Center

Redeker Center is home to south campus dining.  The addition of Panther Village apartments and the growing popularity of on-campus dining were key circumstances driving the need for expanded space for student dining and production. 

The project included the addition of 250 seats to Piazza dining center, the expansion of Biscotti’s convenience store, the introduction of two large student lounges, the inclusion of student office space for RHA (Residence Hall Association) and the re-location of the 24-hour computer lab.  Additionally, Fresh Beginnings production space, the dock receiving area and Department of Residence offices benefitted from expansion.  Additions on four sides of Redeker Center totaled 14,000 square feet.

Redeker project points of distinction include the dramatic west face of the building which is covered with kynar coated aluminum panels.  A recessed glass wall on the first level provides abundant natural light for office and study areas.

Notes on Redeker Center past and present:
The Regents dining facility and the surrounding residence halls were constructed in the 60s.  A student at the time commented, “So many of the buildings we use are getting old.  We need some modern buildings to add sparkle.” 

Events and accommodations add further context to the facilities use at the time.

Redeker Center was the site of popular 1960s events including casino nights, attended by more than 1000 students, and Wine and Dine dinners, where a semi-formal atmosphere included champagne and other wines.  That popular series was discontinued when the drinking age was elevated from 18 to 21.

And an accommodation that we seldom see today: In 1966 modesty panels were installed below railings on the open stairways because most women were wearing skirts.

In nearly 50 years of student life at Redeker Center: enrollment grew from about 5100 to more than 12,000.  Tuition and fees grew from about $250 per semester to $3800 per semester.

In 2013, during the month of September, more than 150,000 meals were served in UNI dining centers.  More than 20,000,000  meals were served in Redeker Center’s 50-year history.

Redeker Center closed for extensive renovation during the 2000-2001 academic year.  The project won an award for architectural and design excellence from American School and University magazine.
The most recent expansion was necessary to accommodate the addition of 450 students living in Panther Village and the growing interest in using dining centers as community centers for social and academic purposes.

Panther Village

Panther Village Phase II includes apartments for 246 students in 1-, 2-, and 4-person apartments.  It includes 113,000 gross square feet.  Each furnished apartment has private bedrooms, a shared kitchen and living room.  Apartments are furnished and include appliances.  The residence contract includes utilities, wireless internet access, cable TV and recycling. 

Concrete block walls, precast concrete floor decks and insulated steel framing contributes to soundproofing between floors and apartments.

Completion of Panther Village Phase II created the distinctive protected courtyard enhancing the view from apartments and lounges in Panther Village Phase I (completed in 2012) and Phase II.  Recreation space including a basketball court and sand volleyball court complete the complex. 

Sustainability features include: energy recovery systems, daylight sensor lighting, bioswales to filter water runoff, in-room recycling and more.
The Panther Village community fulfills a plan to make living on campus the first choice for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Offering more housing options for upperclass students makes it possible for students to retain the social and academic advantages of living on campus for four years.  Students who live on campus earn better grades and are more likely to graduate.

Fall 2013 numbers evidence of project success

Providing more on-campus housing for upperclass students has contributed to the increased percentage of juniors and seniors living on campus this fall.  The number of juniors and seniors living on campus is up 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.

 “An apartment lifestyle is attractive to upperclass students as they pursue a more independent lifestyle,” said Glenn Gray, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Executive Director of Residence. “The addition of Panther Village and the introduction of flexible meal plans are changes that respond to upperclass students’ preferences.”  

UNI Department of Residence fast facts:

 4,355 students living in residence halls, apartments and suites
Managing 1,500,000 square feet of on-campus real estate
Award-winning programs for sustainability, student employment, residence education, commitment to diversity, and dining
Blue Zones certified dining
158,000 meals served in September 2013
Home to 21 Living Learning Communities

Facebook album photos of Redeker Center
Facebook album photos of Panther Village
Facebook album of October 9 celebration
Rod Library Archives: Regents Complex, compiled by Archivist Gerald L. Peterson
Waterloo Courier coverage of the October 9 celebration