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AMES – The Board of Regents, State of Iowa approved today the schematic design, project description, budget and financing plan for a $47 million addition and revitalization of the University of Iowa’s award-winning Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Carver-Hawkeye Arena – Addition and Renovation Project will include the construction of a practice facility immediately north of the Arena for use by the UI’s men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball programs; renovation of the practice, fitness and weight-training facilities utilized by the UI’s wrestling program; renovation and expansion of other fitness and weight-training space in the Arena utilized by the majority of Iowa’s 24 sports teams; the renovation and expansion of locker rooms in the facility; and the renovation of existing and the creation of new office, meeting, and storage space for use by administrative and coaching staff of the UI Athletics Department.
The addition of the practice facility will eliminate the need to have student-athletes in the sports of men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball practice and train at unusual or irregular times of day or at times which are typically reserved for classes. The flexibility created by the practice space will also positively impact the potential for use of the Arena for other University and community-related events such as concerts.
The revitalization of the Arena will also extend into spaces used by the general public on game days and nights including renovation of select concessions and restroom facilities, and the creation of hospitality and meeting spaces combined with club facilities for fans of the Hawkeyes who choose to participate in a variety of premium seating options similar to that which are available in the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium.
Finally, the project will also upgrade the fire alarm, elevator and mechanical systems of the award-winning 25-year-old facility.
“Today, 25 years after its construction, Carver-Hawkeye Arena remains a great facility for spectators. However, if we are to remain competitive, some of the public spaces and many of the `behind-the-scenes’ spaces need significant updating and enhancement. I greatly appreciate the Board’s recognition of our needs and its confidence in our plan to address those needs,” said Gary Barta, the UI’s director of athletics.
“I am also confident fans of the Hawkeyes recognize our need to be competitive and will be as supportive of this project as they were when they were asked to support the construction of Carver-Hawkeye Arena and, more recently, the renovation of Kinnick Stadium.”
Approval by the Board of Regents allows the UI to move forward with the creation of architectural plans and the solicitation of bids for the project. The UI anticipates receiving bids in March 2009 and estimates completion of the full project in the fall of 2011.
“The renovation of Carver-Hawkeye Arena will provide our student-athletes a better chance of competing for championships,” said Tom Brands, head coach of the Iowa wrestling program, the defending Big Ten Conference and NCAA champions.
“Today, 25 years after its construction, Carver-Hawkeye Arena remains a great facility for spectators. However, if we are to remain competitive, some of the public spaces and many of the `behind-the-scenes’ spaces need significant updating and enhancement. I greatly appreciate the Board’s recognition of our needs and its confidence in our plan to address those needs.”
UI Director of Athletics
“It’s really no different than when we were given approval for construction of the Gerdin Academic Learning Center. That project was a difference-maker for our student-athletes academically. This project is a difference-maker for our students athletically.”
The Board also approved the financing plan submitted by the UI for the project. The plan was similar to that which was created for the renovation of historic Kinnick Stadium. It includes revenue generated from fund-raising specifically related to the project and bonding secured by revenues specifically related to the project.
The UI Athletics Department will work with the UI Foundation on a capital gift campaign that has a goal of generating $20 million in support of the project. The UI has already received a multi-million dollar pledge in support of the project from Dale and Marilyn Howard of Iowa Falls.
The UI Athletics Department will also establish courtside and club seat programs comparable to the indoor and outdoor club seat program currently in operation inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium. The premium seating options will likely involve only 600 seats and have the potential to generate as much as $3 million annually in the first five years of operation and $1.3 million annually in the second five years of operation.
“The renovation of Carver-Hawkeye Arena will provide our student-athletes a better chance of competing for championships. It’s really no different than when we were given approval for construction of the Gerdin Academic Learning Center. That project was a difference-maker for our student-athletes academically. This project is a difference-maker for our students athletically.”
UI Wrestling Coach
The UI Athletics Department also plans to implement a priority seating program for the Arena similar to that which is in place for seats in the four grandstands at historic Kinnick Stadium. The Arena program currently calls for less than one-third (less than 4,500) of the 15,000 seats in the facility to be subject to a priority seat contribution.
“When Carver was built 25 years ago, Hawkeye fans were incredibly generous and those who made a contribution to the project were provided access to the best seats. When we renovated Kinnick Stadium, those who were most generous were provided the opportunity to lease premium seating opportunities in the new press box,” Barta said.
“We have developed a funding model that is used across the country for virtually every project like this and particularly when the athletics department involved is asked to be 100 percent self-supporting. We will need help from all fans of the Hawkeyes and the response has already been terrific. With that said, fans sitting in two-thirds of the Arena will not be required to make a contribution or participate in the priority seating program.”
“The efforts of all those involved in the planning, design and feasibility of the Carver-Hawkeye Arena enhancement project are greatly appreciated,” added UI men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter.
“I would especially like to thank those individuals whose generous financial contributions will help make this much-needed upgrade a reality. The addition and renovation are absolute necessities in the process of championship development.”
Barta said the impact of this project will be felt across the spectrum of sports offered by the UI, by thousands of current and future student-athletes, and by hundreds of thousands of fans who will attend events in the Arena for many years to come.
“To say that our staff and coaches are excited or that our student-athletes are excited would be a tremendous understatement. We are making an important investment in one of the landmark buildings on our campus and the programs that it houses,” he said.
“I am thrilled with the Board of Regents has approved this important improvement and addition to Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” said Lisa Bluder, head coach of of Iowa’s women’s baksetball team, a team that claimed a share of the Big Ten Conference’s regular season championship last season.
“Our student-athletes will benefit tremendously from the enhanced practice and strength training facilities. Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a great basketball venue and the renovation will only make our game-day atmosphere that much better and more comfortable for our fans.”
The UI’s newest head coach — volleyball coach Sharon Dingman — said the decision speaks well of the leadership of the University.
“Clearly this project is a strong endorsement of the University of Iowa’s commitment to providing its student-athletes the very best opportunity to achieve both academically and athletically. The challenges we currently face with respect to scheduling team practices and workouts won’t be an issue when this project is complete – and that’s a huge step forward made on behalf of our student-athletes.” she said.
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