DES MOINES, Iowa -- University of Northern Iowa leaders want $38 million, plus $4 million more in private donations, to update and expand a center for the future that currently sits outdated.
The Industrial Technology Center aims to educate students in some hard-to-fill areas: construction management, electrical engineering, technology and design.
Cayla Fulcher, a UNI freshman from Winterset, joined several dozen other students Monday inside the Iowa Statehouse rotunda to lobby lawmakers for the money, even though she acknowledges that she won't personally benefit from the expansion. "I'm really looking forward to it," Fulcher said, "I'll probably be gone by then. But I really want it for the future of the department. I think it will really be helpful."
President Mark Nook acknowledges the irony of the situation: a project that is currently committed to future job needs but using a 1970s-era facility. "One of the things that's going to be cool about this project is that many of our students are going to work on the project," Nook explained, "This can now become a class project."
Gov. Kim Reynolds included money in her budget proposal for the expansion. UNI also plans to include $4 million in private funding.