On Time and On Budget

March 22, 2005

“Ahead of schedule” and “On budget”.

Two phrases that are music to the ears of anyone building anything including Jane Meyer, senior associate athletics director at the UI and the person on the UI Department of Athletics staff that is the day-to-day contact for two-year, multimillion dollar renovation of historic Kinnick Stadium.

“We’re excited. We’re ahead of schedule in some areas, right on schedule in others. And, right now, we’re right on budget,” Meyer told the media that gathered Tuesday for an update on the project.

“We’re excited. We’re ahead of schedule in some areas, right on schedule in others. And, right now, we’re right on budget.”
Jane Meyer, Iowa’s senior associate athletics director

Regarding budget, Meyer said the first of two $30 million “bid packages” came in right on budget. The second is in the last phase of evaluation and she’s optimistic that that package will also come in right at or below forecast.

Regarding construction, Meyer was going to lead a hardhat tour of the construction zone later in the day for the media that was interested in “getting their feet a little dirty.”

In summary, all of the concrete walls of the lower level had been poured and are currently being back-filled. Those taking the tour will see chalk lines on the floor that indicate the various rooms that will be at ground level of the new grandstand located at the south end of Kinnick…the two team locker rooms, training rooms, and the locker room for the game officials for example.

Meyer said roughly two-thirds of the “raker beams” that hold the precast concrete that create the south grandstand are in place. She also said the electrical vault in the southwest corner of the facility is completed and will be outfitted with the appropriate equipment by UI staff in April.

Work also continues on the west side of the stadium. Twenty-one of the caissons that measure 6-feet in diameter and reach down up to 80-feet. These will provide the foundation for the new press box which will begin to rise from the ground and envelope the existing press box this summer and fall.

“Make no mistake, the area around Kinnick Stadium next fall will be a construction zone. We will be very busy throughout the summer, the 2005 football season and next year,” said Meyer.

“However, it will also be safe. A little inconvenient, yes. But both safe and well worth the inconvenience when it’s completed prior to the 2006 season.”

Meyer said fans should be aware of two things as they make their plans for next season. First, the plaza immediately south of the stadium will not be completed. There will be a 50-foot wide walkway that will be parallel to the stadium’s southernmost wall for fans to enter and exit the stadium.

Second, the parking lot immediately west of the stadium will be redone. Meyer said details of that space and how parking will be handled on game day will be shared with season ticket holders during the summer well in advance of Iowa’s season opener on Sept. 4.

Meyer also answered one of the more popular questions: “What about the playing surface?” She said the current field has not been damaged significantly and probably won’t be. She also said no decision has been made regarding the surface long-term.

All things considered, Meyer couldn’t be happier.

“We have a great group of contractors who are working hard every day. It’s exciting to see the progress that we’ve made and, admittedly, daunting to realize how far we have to go,” she said.