The opening of Parking Ramp 2 allows visitors to park closer to many areas of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and will help relieve congestion in other hospital ramps. The new underground ramp replaces old Parking Ramp 2, which closed for demolition in December 2012.

The underground ramp allows for the creation of open, green space at ground level for patients and visitors to enjoy. Having the open area also allows more light to filter into the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

The underground parking ramp adds 651 parking spots on four levels. All handicapped-accessible spots are located on Levels 2 and 3.

Upon entering the ramp, drivers will see a digital sign indicating how many spots are available on each level. The sign includes a separate listing for open handicapped-accessible spots. This helpful information is designed to improve traffic flow, as well as reduce stress that drivers may experience when searching for open spots.

Elevators are available in the northeast corner of the ramp, allowing visitors to enter the existing hospital on the Level 2 skyway. Visitors may also exit the ramp at ground level and walk across the entrance road and into the hospital.

The ramp was designed so each level is flat, making it easier to spot your vehicle when leaving an elevator lobby. In addition, planners used a color coding system to aid guests in remembering where they parked.

  • Green = Level 1
  • Yellow = Level 2
  • Blue = Level 3
  • Orange = Level 4


Once inside the ramp, it’s easy to forget that you are underground. White walls and ceilings, combined with numerous lights, make the ramp bright and inviting. Energy-saving LED lights emit white light, not the orange light often found in  older parking ramps. To save energy, the ramp’s lights operate at 50 percent capacity until motion is detected. As soon as movement is detected, output will increase to 100 percent. Even after motion stops, lights stay on at full brightness for five additional minutes.

Security and Communication 

There are 16 security phones for use in emergencies. Four are located on each level. When used, these phones emit a blue light. They also include a camera accessible by the Safety and Security staff. For added peace of mind, the ramp boasts 40 security cameras. That’s more cameras than any other ramp on campus.  

Ramp 2 is also 100 percent Wi-Fi-enabled for your convenience. Cellphone coverage means families can call a clinic if they are running late. It also allows families to update a loved one after an appointment.

Open Layout

The overhead clearance of Parking Ramp 2 is 8 feet, 2 inches. That is the highest clearance of any of the hospital ramps, and it is more than a foot higher than the clearance in Ramp 1. Minimal columns contribute to an open floor plan.

Environmental Conditions

To maintain proper air quality, fresh air comes into the facility through three shafts on the ramp’s south end. Three exhaust shafts on the north end remove air. Eighteen fans on each level circulate air throughout.

The ramp employs a unique design that prevents water from running down the walls when it rains or snow melts. The construction also included the creation of a ring of support columns about three feet outside the ramp. These interlocking columns hold back dirt. As a result, the parking ramp is a freestanding—and dry--underground structure.

Access to the New University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

Once the new children’s hospital opens, families will have two options for entering the parking ramp. They can use the main ramp access point that is now open or an alternative ramp located off of Hawkins Drive.

Entering UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital

To access the new UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital from Parking Ramp 2, look for the elevators located in the southeast corner of the parking ramp. Press the elevator button marked “G” to reach the lobby. Public elevators inside the lobby are available to access floors inside UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. If you need help finding your way, assistance is available at the information desk.

Exiting UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital

When leaving the hospital, take the public elevators to the lobby. From there, visitors can access the Parking Ramp 2 elevators to reach the level where they parked.

If it is more convenient, families can take the public elevators to the discharge lobby located on Lower Level 1 (LL1) of the hospital. The discharge lobby exits into Level 1 of the parking ramp. This level has eight short-term spots designated for families picking up patients.

The discharge lobby is only for exiting the hospital. Visitors who need to re-enter the hospital must use the Parking Ramp 2 elevators.

Fast Facts about Parking Ramp 2

  • Number of Spaces: 651
  • Number of Levels: Four (all below ground); Level 1 is the top level; Level 4 is the lowest.
  • Location of Handicapped-Accessible Spaces: Levels 2 and 3
  • Number of Handicapped-Accessible Spaces:  64 (54 cars and 10 vans)
  • Number of Security Phones: 16 (four on each level)
  • Number of Security Cameras: 40 (in addition to ones associated with each security phone) 
  • Number of Fans for Ventilation: 72

Use photos to learn how to come and leave for your appointment