The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital finds that more damaged windows need a “safety film”

The cost to be covered is expected to be in excess of $ 771,516

Workers wash the windows of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City on December 23, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)

IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa has identified 77 more windows in their Stead Family Children’s Hospital that require an emergency safety film – which costs an additional $ 771,516 – to keep them from cracking or posing a safety hazard.

UI Health Care this week revealed the discovery of additional damaged windows in its 4-year-old, 14-story children’s hospital when the state Board of Regents asked for approval of an emergency contract with Marv’s Glass to apply additional security films.

Typically, the board of directors must publicly advertise projects that are expected to exceed $ 100,000, unless “a delay in repairing, restoring, or rebuilding a public improvement could result in serious loss or injury” it in a part of the Iowa Code cited by the UIHC in his request.

The new UIHC request, which the board should consider next week, comes after the university received approval in April to spend $ 10-15 million on replacing two floors of delaminated or cracked windows – discovered in July 2019 , open only two years after it was set up.

At the time of the proposal in April, the UIHC reported that it had “put a protective film on all windows identified as potential security risks in order to create an additional margin of safety”. At the time, UIHC said it would actively monitor all windows – while a permanent solution is found – and Rod Lehnertz, UI’s senior vice president of finance and operations, told the regents the hospital could discover more problem windows.

“Our work includes more than just the affected windows,” Lehnertz said in April, adding: “We will continue to monitor and investigate all other incidents. But not only the windows are visibly damaged, they are widespread. “

Regent’s spokesman Josh Lehman confirmed for The Gazette this week that the 77 windows that require security film – which require emergency clearance – are in addition to the windows on floors 4 and 5, the UIHC said in the spring, they would have to be replaced.

Although the university has not yet received this emergency permit, it reported in regent documents that “installation began in October 2021”.

UIHC declined to answer the Gazette’s questions about where the $ 10-15 million window replacement project now stands; if the 77 additional windows are on floors other than those originally identified; how much UIHC has spent on the replacement so far; and if it has an overall timeline.

In April, the university announced that it was investigating possible causes, including manufacturer and installation issues. Lehnertz said the UIHC intends to “hold the polluters accountable”. But officials did not answer questions about tracking insurance or warranty claims this week.

“As part of their commitment to ensuring a safe, high-quality care environment, the University of Iowa hospitals and clinics proactively conduct regular monitoring and maintenance of their facilities,” UIHC officials said in a statement. “This monitoring identified a problem in the performance of some windows. UIHC immediately took measures to install protective films, carry out extended monitoring of the windows and replace windows if necessary. “

The Gazette reported in April that UIHC paid a consultant nearly $ 1 million to assess the damage and offer solutions. By that time, Iowa City’s Marv’s Glass had already paid $ 577,751 to install the film.

Those costs, officials said, were included in the $ 10-15 million replacement project that drove the children’s hospital’s already skyrocketing budget to $ 407 million – $ 137 million over the original budget of $ 270 million -Dollar.

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