At the time of North Hall’s construction, another building on campus already bore that name. Opened in the 1860s and not demolished until 1949, the previous structure was used as a science facility and library and was located on the Pentacrest. The present North Hall was built to house University High School, an experimental school founded in 1916. Until it closed in 1972, the school’s core faculty of graduate students provided an evolving, progressive curriculum to children from Iowa City and its nearby environs. Now home to the School of Social Work, North Hall has a small café, Wild Bill’s, that employs and benefits persons with disabilities. The story of Bill Sackter, after whom the café is named, was the subject of a television movie, Bill, starring Mickey Rooney.
An unpretentious and relatively utilitarian building, North Hall continues Main Campus North’s string of red-brick buildings designed by Proudfoot, Bird and Rawson. With its modest entrance bay and the restriction of detailing to limestone quoins, it is also one of the least ornamented. Both the upper and lower entrances are crowned by plaques announcing the building’s former life as a school, and North Hall as a whole has a reticence in keeping with that history. One whimsical and enigmatic touch, a pair of doubled X’s, is executed in brickwork on the east façade.
The building is accessible to persons with disabilities with the exception of the sub-basement which houses studios of the Art Education department. For access to activities located in this area call (319) 335-3012.
Accessible access to Space Place Theatre
North Hall is built into the hill so that the west side entrance is at the basement level, and the east side is level with the 3rd floor. It is advantageous to park in the North Ramp, drive up to the top level, then take the parking ramp elevator up to the walkway, which is at street level with N Clinton St and the 3rd floor entrance of North Hall.
Space Place Theater is then accessible via the entrance that is at street level with N. Clinton Street. From there, take the elevator down to the first floor. Accessible seats in Space Place are located in the first row. Note: The accessible pathway from the North Campus Ramp is a somewhat lengthy one since the elevator is located on the opposite corner of the ramp from North Hall.