A Look at the New Iowa Football Practice Facility
By John Sears & John Campbell, TV9 Sports
By Marc Morehouse, Reporter
IOWA CITY Iowa's new indoor sports facility is in the final stages. The FieldTurf needs those black-rubber pellets and the storage area probably has a round of drywall coming.
That's about it.
When the 102,000 square foot facility is finished, Iowa will have at the very least caught up with the rest of the college football world.
The new facility should give Iowa everything it needs to compete in utility (FieldTurf, three filming platforms and goalpost netting, so yes, field goals can be kicked inside) and in "wow." Let's face it, the "Bubble," the 27-year-old indoor facility that was deflated in April, had certainly lost its "wow" factor.
"You look outside and what we're doing facility-wise," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We were probably five years behind, quite frankly. Maybe we fell asleep at the wheel with that one."
Iowa is wide awake now.
The school is in the midst of a $55 million facility upgrade for the football program. Phase I is the new indoor football practice facility and adjacent outdoor practice fields. The facility will be open on a "temporary occupancy" basis when the Hawkeyes begin fall camp on Aug. 3.
Iowa's grass practice fields are located just outside of the indoor facility. These also will be ready when Iowa begins practice. When Iowa needs to practice outdoors on FieldTurf, it will do so at Kinnick Stadium.
"It looks good on the inside and it looks good on the outside," Ferentz said. "It's something our players will benefit from in the short term and it's something that's very, very important to our program."
Phase II will include new locker, equipment and meeting rooms, strength and conditioning center, medical facility, coaches' offices and a public entryway. It will be located south of the new indoor facility. Phase II has a targeted completion date of 2014.
"I think the construction of the indoor facility has been invigorating for everyone, seeing that and watching it come together," Ferentz said. "Certainly to get the rest of this project finished here in the next two years is going to be exciting."
Jane Meyer, UI senior associate athletics director, guided a tour of the indoor facility on Wednesday. She said Iowa checked out the New England Patriots and Michigan State for ideas. She also said this brings Iowa to Big Ten standard.
"It's very important we build facilities where our teams can compete for the best athletes," Meyer said. "We know how important facilities are to the best athletes.
"When it comes down to recruiting, we want to make sure we have the facilities that compete within the Big Ten and we believe this facility does."
This comes at a cost, of course.
The total cost of the project is $55 million. Iowa athletics director Gary Barta has said the department has raised $20 million in private funds for the project with a fundraising goal of $35 million. The other $20 million will come from a short-term loan paid from department funds. Barta said the department has no plans to sell bonds for the project.
Beyond that, Iowa is offering naming rights to everything from the major-league "football performance center" to the players' lockers.
This isn't new for Iowa. When Iowa renovated Kinnick Stadium in '06, it offered a multitude of opportunities for naming rights. That appears to be part of the strategy for the facility upgrade.
The donations are payable over a five-year period.
Iowa intends to keep the the names Hayden Fry Football Complex, the Jacobson Athletic Building and the Kenyon Football Outdoor Practice Facility.
Here's a list of what are being termed "donor opportunities" and the price tags (some have already been reserved):
Football Performance Center $10 million
Iowa football operations building $5 million (reserved)
Indoor practice facility $5 million
Iowa football legacy hall $4 million
Head coach's suite $3 million
Consensus all-America room $2 million (reserved)
Weight training facility $2 million (reserved)
Locker room $2 million
Team meeting room $1.5 million (reserved)
Offensive and defensive coordinators' offices (2) $1 million
Offensive coaching staff conference room $750,000
Defensive coaching staff conference room $750,000
Equipment room $500,000
Training room $500,000
Iowa football student-athlete lounge $500,000
Coaches' locker room $250,000
Assistant coaches' offices (9) $250,000 (two reserved)
Position meetings rooms (9) $100,000 (three reserved)
Speed and agility training area $100,000
Football administrative offices (5) $50,000
Graduate assistant coaches office $50,000
Lifting station in weightroom (20) $25,000
Assistant coaches locker $25,000
Student-athlete locker (120) $10,000
Plaque recognition $5,000