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Transformation complete: PAAC Open House April 24

A manufacturing facility destined for dormancy was recently transformed into a high-energy studio and training facility thanks to a spirit of collaboration, innovation and community-mindedness in rural northeast Iowa. Upper Iowa University’s (UIU) art and athletic programs will soon celebrate the one-of-a-kind addition of the Peacock Arts and Athletic Center (PAAC) to Fayette Campus.

The unique blend of skill and artistry will be on display for all to see 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, April 24, as Upper Iowa University publicly unveils the PAAC with an open house and dedication ceremony. A brief program is scheduled for 4 p.m.; tours will be offered and refreshments served.

Located just south of Harms-Eischeid stadium on UIU’s beautiful Fayette Campus, the PAAC has  ample space for two- and three-dimensional art, as well as the UIU baseball, softball and golf teams. Since opening the doors this past fall, participating faculty and athletic staff members have witnessed great benefits not only within their own departments but by way of the positive experiences that they have shared together.

“There has been a great amount of interaction between the athletes and art students,” UIU Associate Professor of Art Elissa Wenthe said. “The building is filled with energy and a flurry of activities each and every day. Many of our student-athletes are also involved in the arts, and all of the students share a dedication to practicing their skills and a passion for the time that they spend on the ball diamond, golf course and art studio.”

“The collaboration with the art department is definitely unique and exciting,” Upper Iowa University Athletic Director Rick Hartzell said. “The faculty, staff and students support each other and witness firsthand the hard work required to be successful in anything they do, exactly what intercollegiate athletics and higher education should be all about.”

UIU President William R. Duffy and Ideal Industries President/CEO Patrick C. Lyons signed a five-year low-cost lease agreement of the former Ideal Industries building and six-acre property in April 2017. Following the end of the lease agreement, the building will be donated to the University.

“Personally, I have a significant level of affinity for both higher education and small-town Iowa,” Lyons said in April 2017. “It is gratifying to know that this project with Upper Iowa University will advance the interests of both in this community.”

The PAAC course offerings include ceramics, sculpture, drawing, figure drawing, painting, advanced painting and screen printing. Community education and cross disciplinary courses have also been held in the building.

“We have not only witnessed an increase in first-time art students due to the new facility and expanded programming, but we have seen more collaboration between students,” Wenthe said. “The public support has also been overwhelming, with the first adult education course filling up in a matter of hours.  We look forward to hosting more community education programs in the future.”

Batting cages, complete with turf and an indoor putting green and chipping course makes UIU’s PAAC one of the largest indoor facilities in Iowa. Each of the athletic teams enjoy individual offices and personalized storage lockers.

“This facility is a game-changer for our softball, baseball and golf programs,” Hartzell said. “No one in our league has a facility like this so it gives us an excellent recruiting advantage over our peers in these sports. Our student-athletes are really excited about the increased opportunities that this wonderful new facility provides them in skill development. There is no doubt that over time we will definitely see improvement in these teams. The recruiting benefits are already starting to show.”

For additional information about the April 24 open house, contact Brenda Luzum, UIU director of alumni relations, stewardship and communications, at 563-425-5238.

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