Changes to Kinnick

BY BEN MARKS | AUGUST 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Being a fan of Iowa sports is about to get a whole lot nicer.

On Wednesday, the state Board of Regents voted to approve the Iowa Athletics Department’s request to proceed with a number of renovations.

These include a brand-new student-athlete dorm and upgrades to Kinnick Stadium.

Together, the projects are estimated to cost around $105 million.

The biggest chunk of that price will be the residence hall, estimated to cost $85 million. Designed especially for student-athletes, the hall will be located near Kinnick and the West Campus Transportation Center, although officials have not  determined the exact location.

According to UI Housing & Dining, in recent years, demand for suite-style housing, the kind seen at Mayflower, has grown rapidly. To accommodate this, the new dorm will have approximately 500 to 600 suite-style rooms.

Although open to all students, the dorm will have athlete-specific amenities, such as a training table.

The Athletics Department said its gifts and earnings, as well as dormitory revenue bonds, which the regents approved Wednesday for the Madison Street residence hall, will cover the cost of the project.

The Athletics Department said the cost of the projects might exceed estimations, because the projected dorm cost is based on the recent residence-hall projects.

The proposed dorm would be the latest in a string of student-housing projects the UI has undertaken recently.

Just a few weeks ago, Petersen Hall officially opened, and the Madison Street dorm is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. Prior to this year, the UI hadn’t opened a new dorm since 1968.

“When it comes to facilities, we’re continually working with our coaching staff to identify what we need to succeed and set priorities,” Hawkeye Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a release when the proposals were unveiled late July. “We are also committed to enhancing the experience for our fans. This next master plan addresses these priorities.”

The regents also approved plans for the construction of a new indoor track and field facility on the West Campus near Hawkeye Drive Apartments. Estimated to cost $15 million to $20 million, it would house a viewing area, weight and athletics training spaces, locker rooms, and offices.

The new facility would replace the Recreation Building next to Kinnick. Officials are considering the location it occupies as the future home of the student-athlete dorm.

The regents also approved renovations to Kinnick in the form of improved restroom and locker-room facilities, new turf, upgraded food and vending options, as well as upgrades to the north end-zone stands, which haven’t been altered since 1983.

“Our student-athletes excel in the field of play and in the classroom, and we want to provide them every advantage possible to be competitive with any program in the country,” Barta said.

Daily Iowan Sports Editor Charlie Green contributed to this story.

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