Feb. 20, 2024: By UI Health Care

Iowa Board of Regents to consider requests for new pharmacy services space, renovation of research lab

The University of Iowa is seeking approval of two lease agreements and the renovation of the Histology Research Laboratory in the Medical Research Center from the Iowa Board of Regents at its next meeting on Feb. 28.

One of the proposed lease agreements would allow the relocation of some UI Health Care pharmacy services to buildings near the intersection of North Dodge Street and Interstate 80 in Iowa City. The other would replace an existing five-year lease with a new 10-year lease for UI Urgent Care in Cedar Rapids.

Leases on ACT Circle would allow relocation of UI Health Care Pharmacy Services

UI is requesting approval to lease two adjoining buildings in the 2100 block of ACT Circle in Iowa City to create an off-site central services pharmacy and support services facility. The two 20-year leases  would be with ACT Holdings, LLC.

Currently, most of the 13 pharmacies within the UI Health Care system are at operational capacity despite creative redesigns of spaces and short-term leases. In FY23, these pharmacies served about 72,000 patients and provided 629,000 prescriptions. The lack of additional space currently limits growth potential.

UI has an existing lease agreement for the Wells Fargo building at 327 Second St. in Coralville that will expire in November 2024. This building houses more than 80 pharmacy employees, including pharmacy IT, business support services, and the UI Health Care Specialty Pharmacy centralized call team.

The leases on ACT Circle would allow key pharmacy services to maximize space, support centralized delivery, improve efficiency through new technology, and support long-term growth. The new space also would free up valuable space at UI Hospitals & Clinics main campus and Iowa River Landing locations.

The first building located at 2100 ACT Circle contains 47,760 square feet of conditioned warehouse space that would be used for specialized pharmacy operations and fulfilling mail-order prescriptions to Iowans. The second building at 2101 ACT Circle contains 18,000 square feet of office and support space. The warehouse space would support additional pharmacy growth.

This kind of transition to a centralized shared services building is a new standard adopted by many academic medical centers across the country to improve services and secure their financial future.

Renovation at the Medical Research Center, Carver College of Medicine

MRC exterior of building

This $2.1 million project would renovate the Histology Research Laboratory (HRL), located on the first floor of the Medical Research Center, in support of researchers within the Carver College of Medicine and throughout UI.

The HRL, which has been operating in its current space for decades, provides key histology services, including tissue processing, paraffin embedding and sectioning of tissues, and the placement of sections onto slides with routine and specialized stains. Once stained, these sections are then viewed by pathologists to provide detailed information about disease progression and the success of experimental treatments.

The renovation is needed to improve workflow, upgrade the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and modernize room finishes.

The Medical Research Center was built in 1957, and several portions of the building already have been renovated. The area that would be renovated during this project has physical deficiencies that negatively affect research conducted in the space and don’t adequately equip faculty to compete for or sustain future research.

This project will enable the university to perform state-of-the-art research and remain competitive in both the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and trainees.

Extension of lease for UI Urgent Care in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Urgent Care

In 2021, the UI signed a five-year lease for 8,577 square feet of space at 411 10th St. in Cedar Rapids. UI Urgent Care-Cedar Rapids opened in the space in May 2022.

Because of the capital expenditures that were made for the urgent care and UI Health Care’s long-term commitment to provide care from this facility, the UI is requesting approval to extend the lease with a new 10-year term, with multiple renewal options.

If approved, the new 10-year lease would begin on April 1 and would run through March 31, 2034.

The UI leases two other clinic spaces in the same building, including a UI Sports Medicine clinic. Those two leases would not be affected by the lease extension for the urgent care space.