Forker Building next to get a facelift

Renovation to the Forker Building at Iowa State University will transform unused locker rooms in the 1940 building into more functional space to meet the needs of today’s kinesiology students and faculty.

“The renovation makes much smarter use of the space,” said Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, director of operations for the College of Human Sciences.

The project kicks off this fall with a $668,000 expansion of kinesiology laboratory space. An assessment by RDG Planning and Design showed that less than 10 percent of the Forker Building’s 11,000 square feet of lockers are being used. The project will renovate a women’s locker room and adjacent office into research space.

“Times have changed,” said Phil Martin, professor and chair in kinesiology. “The need for that kind of space in departments like ours has dramatically decreased over the last several decades. The renovation will allow us to use this space more effectively to meet current department needs.”

Improvements happening college wide

The Forker remodel is part of an overall facelift to the College of Human Sciences, which is undergoing millions of dollars in building improvements that will benefit all five areas of the college, whose fields of study include education, kinesiology, apparel, events, hospitality management, food science and human nutrition, human development and family studies.

Other key building projects include those in MacKay and Lagomarcino halls.

“With our increased enrollment, and added faculty and staff, we clearly need renovations to our space,” said Pamela White, dean of the College of Human Sciences. “I am very pleased we have been able to vastly improve areas in Lagomarcino, MacKay, and now Forker. We are improving not only function, but also the spirits of all who take classes and work in the spaces.”

Improvements to the Forker Building come as undergraduate student enrollment in kinesiology has increased 68 percent in the past 7 years. The department recently hired three new tenure-track faculty members to help meet the increased demand.

“With recent hires, the department has an immediate need for additional laboratory space that will accommodate larger-scale research projects,” states a concept paper on the project.

The research area will include a dedicated space for aerobic and strength training intervention equipment, and adjacent spaces for health and physical activity assessments. It will also address a long-standing need for an appropriately designed cold storage area and additional lab work space for an expanding group of faculty and students conducting physiological, biochemical, and molecular biological analyses.

The renovations will help to recruit new faculty and serve the needs of existing faculty. Martin said the space is designed for multiple research functions and not just the needs of a few faculty members.

“I think it says that we’re better equipped to do broader types of research,” Martin said. “Will that help us with our recruitment? I think it will down the road.”

Future needs identified

The current project should be complete by May 2015.

Improvements to the Forker Building also aim to improve the overall flow of the 138,703-square-foot building that’s home to students majoring in kinesiology and health, and athletic training.

Future needs include taking a rusty, old, dark men’s locker room — much of which sits unused — and transforming it into faculty offices. The building vision creates a corridor in the middle of the building and groups similar spaces together such as offices, research labs, classrooms, and gym spaces.

That much larger project is still in the planning stages, and is subject to fundraising and approval by the Iowa Board of Regents. Interested donors to College of Human Sciences remodeling projects should contact Kelly Hanfelt, the college’s director of development, at 515-294-1849 or khanfelt@iastate.edu.


Pamela White, dean, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-5380, pjwhite@iastate.edu

Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, director of operations, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-1410, jpgalvin@iastate.edu

Philip Martin, chair, Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, 515-294-8009, pemartin@iastate.edu

Matthew Leimkuehler, graduate assistant, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-9424, hswriter@iastate.edu

Lynn Campbell, communications specialist, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-3689, lynnc@iastate.edu