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New football offices next phase after indoor practice facility

[ 1 ] June 2, 2011 |

Construction on the new $22 million indoor practice facility is set to begin this fall, Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said Thursday.

And the second phase of the project — an all-new football facility with offices, meeting areas, locker rooms, weight training and more — is starting to come into focus.

The new indoor practice facility is going to be built on the parking lot west of the Jacobson Athletic Building, next to the Kenyon Practice Facility. A new football facility would be built adjoining the indoor field on the end facing Kinnick Stadium.

“It has a great contiguous feel and look from Kinnick to football and football operations,” Barta said. “We’re comfortable moving forward on phase one; we just have to get real busy on fundraising for phase two.”

Barta said that once the new football facility is done and in use, they are looking at re-purposing the empty space in the Jacobson Athletic Building for men’s and women’s gymnastics.

Gymnastics practices in the Field House and the space is dated and crowded, Iowa women’s gymnastics coach Larissa Libby said. She came before the Presidential Committee on Athletics last year to petition them on the poor state of their facilities.

“Iowa is really invested in their programs, and that’s good to see,” Libby said last June. “But for all the things they’ve done, they don’t have a plan for us. They kind of haven’t shown a commitment.

“We’d just like to see something — a vision for what they want. That would make us all feel just a little bit better.”

In addition, once the indoor practice facility is up and running, Iowa will pop “The Bubble” to make room for a parking ramp for the new children’s hospital.

Barta said it would make sense to have the new football facility maintain the look and feel of Kinnick Stadium.

“I love the view and feel of Kinnick,” Barta said Thursday, looking out at the future construction site from the first floor of the press box. “As we develop the final look of that building, it makes sense since it’s going to be visible back and forth, that they are coordinated.

“But we don’t have the final designs yet.”

Barta still hopes the plans can include a space that is open to the public where they can view the trophies and honors earned by the football team over the years.

“That’s one of the advantages of rebuilding,” Barta said. “You can create it so that it has that in mind, rather than trying to add on to an existing facility.”

The Iowa state Board of Regents already has approved the entire project, which will be paid for without public money. Barta indicated they had enough money raised to start phase one this fall but still had to go out and raise money for phase two.

It would be the latest upgrade for the football program over the past decade, including the Kinnick Stadium renovation and the new outdoor practice fields.

“I think you’re constantly trying to make sure you have what you need to compete,” Barta said. “And this is certainly on the list of what we need to compete.”

In other facilities planning:

» Barta acknowledged that they are having discussions about what to do with Duane Banks Field, but the project still is years away.

“We’re always looking to the future,” Barta said. “We’ve had discussions.”

Banks Field was built in 1974 and Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm is on the record saying it needs to be updated to keep up with the rest of the conference.

Iowa can choose to rebuild or renovate Banks Field at its current location or build a new field out by field hockey, soccer and tennis — the “Hawkeye campus.”

Barta said a new field was not in the “next one- to three-year plan.”

» The new indoor golf facility still is on track to be built at Finkbine Golf Course. At one time, it was going to be packaged with a new clubhouse but Barta said the latter still is a ways down the road.

“We have lot of visions and ideas,” he said. “We’re a long way from the back of a napkin to an architect. But that’s a direction we’d like to head at some point.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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