Several projects in ‘feasibility study mode’ as athletic department seeks donations
Iowa pitcher Trenton Wallace (38) throws a pitch for Nebraska wide receiver Griffin Everitt (16) during their game at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on Friday, March 19, 2021. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
IOWA CITY — Iowa athletic director Gary Barta is considering possible upgrades to the Hawkeyes’ baseball, softball, field hockey and outdoor athletics facilities, he said last week.
The projects are in “feasibility study mode,” Barta said at a recent meeting of the Presidential Committee on Athletics.
Duane Banks Field would remain at its current location, but Iowa plans to “significantly add to the structure around the field,” including restrooms.
Field hockey could see a project similar to recent upgrades to the nearby soccer facility. It would include dressing rooms, team rooms and a press box.
Potential upgrades to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena, outdoor track and Pearl Softball Field are also in this preliminary stage.
“We had renovated and invested in an indoor track,” Barta said. “So now we’re going to start looking at the outside track.”
However, there are still a few steps to go before these renovations come to fruition. Barta has an unmistakable expression when it comes to sports facility projects.
“A vision without resources is irrelevant,” Barta said.
His staff “created the vision”. Now he needs resources.
Donations especially took a hit in the 2020-21 fiscal year as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on college sports, losing more than $20 million from the prior fiscal year, according to the latest financial report. of the NCAA.
The lack of donations was largely related to the lack of season ticket sales when stadiums banned or severely limited attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Status of projects already announced
Progress continues on the previously announced new wrestling and gymnastics buildings.
Construction on the new $26.5 million Iowa wrestling complex attached to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena is set to begin “later this spring, early this summer,” Barta said.
The control facility is fully funded by donors.
Next in the Athletics Department’s “queue” is the new building for Iowa’s Gymnastics and Spirit Team Programs – a proposed facility across from the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex that is expected to cost between 7 and 9 million dollars.
“The fieldhouse is a long time old,” Barta told The Gazette. “We’ve always known that what we ultimately want is a standalone facility.”
Unlike the wrestling draft, Iowa still has more fundraising and design to do before construction of the gymnastics training center begins. It’s “moving at a good pace,” Barta said, but it’s too early to have a construction schedule.
“We have a few major commitments from some donors,” Barta said.
Advances in wrestling and gymnastics facilities can be traced back to Barta’s general philosophy on the subject.
“Why are these facilities more advanced? Barta asked rhetorically during the PCA meeting. “Because we have resources.”
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