Marching Band’s home measuring up


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Muddy shoes and cramped storage space will no longer be the norm for those who march and play music.

The Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex and indoor turf addition are on schedule and on budget, and the Hawkeye Marching Band is especially looking forward to the changes.

“I drive by on a regular basis, and it is exciting to see the steady progress,” wrote Kevin Kastens, the director of the Hawkeye Marching Band, in an email. “Overall, this new facility is much more representative of a Big Ten marching band.”

The facility will provide indoor rehearsal space for the Marching Band, as well as a new outdoor turf field.

Jan Harvey, the design project manager for the complex, said the indoor turf field will be approximately 200-by-340 feet and will have the potential for adjustments in the future.

“The demand on the existing facilities is just overwhelming, so this will help relieve some of that,” she said.

There will be a link joining the building and turf that will hold offices and conference rooms.

An outdoor turf field next door will make practices a lot less messy for the Marching Band.

“Although we will miss our neighbors at our previous Park Road practice field, the new outdoor field will be level and drain much better after a rainfall,” Kastens said.

In total, the project is set to cost $11.85 million.

After the 2008 flood meant that the Voxman Music Building was no longer an option, the Marching Band members lost storage space for their instruments and uniforms, as well as rest rooms, lockers, and an adequate practice space.

“The current needs of the Marching Band … were not being met, and there were other functional needs,” said UI spokesman Tom Moore. “This is something that is aimed at meeting the needs of our students and providing the best [experience].”

The facility will be available for athletics and recreational services during the months when the band is not practicing.

Moore said he is pleased with the progress on the project, because it means it will be available for use this fall.

“This will ensure that this will be a very efficient facility because there will be … a year-round facility,” he said.

The year-round availability is what Kastens said he is most looking forward to.

Having an indoor practice field will allow the band to meet during rainy days and in November.

“With three home games in November this upcoming season, having our full rehearsal time is critical,” Kastens said.

Because the group is a Big Ten band, Kastens said, it sometimes means a quick turnaround. The new space will better equip the members to be able to manage that.

“… We perform six different halftime shows during the course of a season,” he said. “Not losing rehearsal time will be great, especially for our ‘one week’ shows, where the band receives new drill and music on Tuesday and needs to perform the new show on the following Saturday.”

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