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Brief History of School Libraries & The ISNS-UNI Laboratory School Library

By Gail Froyen

The Closing of the Malcolm Price Laboratory School 

and Disposition of Surplus Property

(Based on information from and interviews by Gail Froyen with:

elly Flege, UNI Director of Business Operations

and Roger Kueter, UNI Auctioneer)


Malcolm Price Laboratory School (MPLS) officially closed on June 30, 2012.


The decision to close the school was completed by the Board of Regents on February 27, 2012. This decision was upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.


Ten teams were appointed to prepare for the “transitioning” of students, faculty, staff, and for disposal of “surplus property,” according to the Regent institutions and the Board of Regents Office.


The Facility/Assets Transition Team was comprised of:

Michael Hager, Transition Team Leader

Kelly Flege

Morris Mikkelsen

Lyn Countryman

Ginny Arthur

Brenda Buzynski


At that time Kelly Flege was the UNI Director of Business Operations responsible for Transactional Purchasing, Payable Student Accounts, and Fixed Assets.  In an interview on June 1, 2016, she stated that the State of Iowa and the Board of Regents have rules and procedures regarding state and University property and its disposal. She said that all actions taken regarding materials and furnishings of the MPLS followed these rules, regulations and procedures. All of this was done after the close of the school year and the official closing of the school.


First, an on-campus solicitation was sent to the department heads. The library distributed an inventory consisting of books with a copyright of 2005 forward, plus award winning books. The following divisions requested materials:

* The Literacy Education Program within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction,

         Dr. Deb Tidwell, coordinator

* The Instructional Resources & Technology Service (IRTS), Maxine Davis

* The Child Development Center, Donna Adelman

* Early Childhood Education, Dr. Linda Fitzgerald

* The RiteCare Early Language Program-Speech and Hearing (housed in the upper        level of the Nielsen field house), Dr. Theresa Kouri

More than 10,000 volumes were redirected to the above listed entities.


The inventory of the Library holdings was provided to any interested UNI department heads and through them to divisions within departments.  Shelving units, mostly double sided, also went to areas that obtained the books. Entities that requested books/materials found boxes, packed, and transported the books themselves.


Then advertisements were placed for the collection and furnishings as a whole in the Des Moines Register and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier and sent to a ListServ of K-12 Iowa School Libraries.  Sealed bids were due by 5:00 p.m. October 31, 2012. No bids were received.  Some furnishings, desks, tables, chairs, file cabinets, and so on were redistributed within the College of Education and elsewhere on campus. Only freestanding items could be redistributed or sold.  As much of the single sided tall shelving was attached to the walls, the Physical Plant detached those bookcases so that they could also be used elsewhere on campus or sold at auction.


All that remained was considered SURPLUS and according to Iowa Code had to be made available for sale to the public.


MPLS Public Auction

Interview with Roger Kueter, the auctioneer, on May 23, 2016.


The public auction was held for November 7, 8, 9, and 10, 2012 to dispose of surplus MPLS items with Saturday, November 10 reserved for the library auction.

The Regent institutions and the Board Office established surplus property disposal procedures to ensure items defined as surplus by departments are placed within the institution to the extent feasible. This process was completed by November 6, 2012 to ensure all items were properly utilized on-campus if appropriate, prior to being offered for public sale.


One of the early concerns was the relationship between Roger Kueter, long-time UNI auctioneer, and Kelly Flege, at that time UNI Director of Business Operations and Kueter’s daughter.  After due diligence and vetting, Kueter was confirmed as the auctioneer for the four day auction.


The auction was structured with each item tagged and ID’s required of bidders.  Access during the auction was limited to those areas being auctioned that day.  Successful bidders brought their own boxes, plastic tubs, etc. in which to move the items purchased.  Several 2-wheeled carts were available to assist in the actual moving. The books in the library were sold shelf-by-shelf rather than book by book or in any other way.  About 100 people attended the library portion of the auction. The library was empty of books before demolition.


Much of the Early Childhood collection had already gone to the UNI Child Development Center and/or the Daycare. Schools purchased many of the tables/chairs, and individuals purchased the remaining shelving and other furnishings.  The building was essentially empty when it was turned over to the demolition contractor.



Report on the Transition of Closing Malcolm Price Laboratory School (MPLS)

by June 30, 2012

Leader: Michael Hager

Members: Kelly Flege, Morris Mikkelsen, Lyn Countryman, Ginny Arthur, and

Brenda Buzynski

April 20, 2012

The goals of this team are to complete an inventory and plan for the removal of equipment and assets. Also, the Center for Disability Studies in Literacy, Language and Learning (which occupies one MPLS classroom) will need to relocate to campus. The team will also determine protocol for the relocation, sale and disposal of items, and the closing of the building.

March 13, 2012:

Complete walk-through of MPLS occurred as the building was vacant. MPLS students, faculty and staff were on Spring Break.

March 22, 2012:

Team met to review the inventory process, best practices and recommendations from Department of Education.

April 4, 2012: (ongoing)

The process began to complete an inventory of MPLS items. All work is occurring after 4 p.m. so there is no interruption to instructional time.

April 12, 2012: (ongoing)

- Inventory of musical instruments, library items and any items that belong to any other organization or group is being completed.

- Space in Baker Hall is identified as a new location for the Center for Disability Studies in Literacy, Language and Learning.

- Compliance with Board of Regents asset reallocation policy is followed for MPLS items.

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