The Bubble is Kaput

April 20, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa athletics department is moving forward into a new era, and the inflatable “Bubble” training facility attached to the Hayden Fry Football Complex is not part of the vision.

Permanent deflation of the Bubble began Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. (CT), and finished nearly 30 minutes later.

“From an athletics perspective, we always dream to the future,” said Jane Meyer, UI senior associate director of athletics. “(The Bubble) has gone beyond its lifespan. What we’re excited about is what it provides with closer parking and transportation, parking for our folks who work at UIHC, but more importantly, we have a more durable facility that helps us from an energy perspective. (The new football building being built on the Kenyon Football Practice Facility) is a much more energy-efficient facility.”

All the material from the Bubble will be repurposed by a subcontractor, including the turf inside the building.

For 27 years, the Bubble served as an indoor practice facility for several UI athletics teams, but its primary use was by the football program. From 1985 to 1998, the structure deflated twice as a result of natural causes: a blizzard in December, 1990, and a storm in June, 1998. It was flattened Friday by opening four exterior doors and turning off blowers that forced air inside and kept the tarp roof up.

“Some people are very sad because this has been a facility that has been very good to all of our sports teams, primarily football,” Meyer said. “This is a great move to our future.”

In place of the bubble, a parking lot with room for 689 vehicles will be constructed. It has a completion date of September, 2012. Phase I of the new indoor practice facility will be completed in August, 2012, with a budget of $19.5 million.

To view a photo gallery from Friday’s deflation of the Bubble, click HERE.

To watch the progress on the construction of Iowa new indoor football practice facility, click HERE.