Iowa floods returned to several parts of the state this year, and although water levels did not reach those of the 2008 flood, the major effects of high water were close to mind. The historic 2008 flood affected more than 20 buildings consisting of 2.5 million square feet of the University of Iowa – nearly one-sixth of campus. Five major buildings were permanently closed. The majority of the facilities affected were reopened later in 2008, a handful re-opened their doors in 2009, and one in 2012. This year, a solid eight years from that summer, has excitedly welcomed beautiful, brand new spaces.
A gorgeous new Hancher Auditorium will showcase a full lineup of performances this academic year including the Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker and The Sound of Music. Hancher has long been associated with Iowa City itself, and the new facility brings back the performing arts in grand fashion. The Visual Arts Building and Voxman Music Building have also made their debut to students and community members in 2016.
The first weekend in November, the 5th and 6th, the towering University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital will host a community open house prior to its opening in December. Residents have seen the giant hole in the ground transform into a world-class facility – and now it is time to see it up close. So if you have no other reason to visit Iowa City (and there are many), attend the Hospital’s open house to see how children from all across the state and far beyond will be cared for, right here in the heart of Eastern Iowa.
The university isn’t the only aspect where “new” is what’s current this fall. Small businesses in Iowa City are also growing and introducing what’s new – particularly dining establishments. Jimmy Jacks, although it has been serving barbecue for 10 years on the east side of town, just opened a new location in downtown Iowa City. Jimmy Jacks was named Iowa’s best barbecue restaurant by Yahoo in 2015 and by Thrillist this year. The owners also co-own two other restaurants downtown, so they are no strangers to those student-filled streets.
High Ground Café, a local coffee shop that opened in Iowa City’s Northside Marketplace district in 2013, will very soon open a second location in the Iowa River Landing. The current café serves coffee, wine, beer, lunch items and more and is popular with students. The new space is connected to Homewood Suites and is just off Interstate 80, a great spot for visitors. And later in the year or early next, owners of Big Grove Brewery, settled a short drive north in Solon, will expand to Iowa City’s Riverfront Crossings District, close to the bike trails and a new park. You will, of course, need another place to go when you return to town, which the folks here hope you do often!
For more ideas and information on upcoming events, visit IowaCityCoralville.org.
Photo Credit: Bill Adams