Marissa Payne, The Daily Iowan
The University of Iowa is considering a public-private partnership with its utility system per Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request that the state’s three public universities explore such partnerships — a growing trend in higher education as funding for state institutions falls.
A public-private partnership is a typically long-term agreement between public and private entities formed to provide a public asset or service. Under this type of partnership, the UI would continue to own its utility system while entering into a professional services agreement with a private-sector partner for up to 50 years.
UI Utilities powers and provides water to the entire campus and UI Hospitals & Clinics, operating and maintaining a Power Plant, Water Plant, three Chilled Water Plants on the Main Campus, and satellite facilities at the Oakdale Campus.
The UI will pay the vendor the cost of utilities and an amount “commensurate with the ongoing care, maintenance and operation of the UI utility system, increased annually to account for standard inflation,” according to the UI partnership website.