Indoor football practice facility complete by August or September

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IOWA CITY — A new indoor practice facility for the Iowa football program should be completed by August or September, Iowa Senior Associate Athletics Director Jane Meyer said Thursday.

Construction began in October for the new facility, which is a permanent metal structure with a brick facade. It will replace the current "bubble" located north of Kinnick Stadium.

The practice facility is the first portion of a two-phase project costing around $50 million. The second phase, which includes a new center for football operations, offices and a weight room, has yet to begin or have a final design.

But the construction timeline is tricky for the football program. The bubble will be torn down in the spring, possibly before the end of spring football, Meyer said. The university's new $271 million children's hospital and a $23 million west campus transportation center will go up in the same area as the current bubble.

"The timing is going to be depended upon when we get steel on site for the new structure," Meyer said. "Then we're going to make an institutional decision that we're comfortable that the new facility will be done in time for football in the fall. It's a timing issue to make sure that we will not go through a football season without an indoor structure.

"I can definitively say (the bubble will stay up) through spring break. But it's an institutional decision because of the three projects that are all impacted by this."

Construction for a new indoor golf practice facility at Finkbine Golf Course should begin in early 2012. The project, which includes heated bays, a 3,000 square-foot chipping/putting area, locker rooms and offices, costs $1.8 million. Meyer said the project is 100 percent supported by fund raising.

"We've been very happy with the people who have stepped up with that," Meyer said.

The athletics department also is conducting a study for a possible gymnastics practice facility. Iowa's men's and women's gymnastics teams currently train at The Fieldhouse's north gym.

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