Iowa athletics weighs building change

Officials discussing how to revamp old football facility

The University of Iowa football offices in the Jacobsen Building in Iowa City, Iowa, 5/22/2006.
The University of Iowa football offices in the Jacobsen Building in Iowa City, Iowa, 5/22/2006.

IOWA CITY — Iowa’s athletics department is weighing multiple options for the current football office building, which will be vacated later this summer.

The second phase of a new $55 million football building — which includes offices, meeting space and a massive strength and conditioning area — should be operational by late summer, Iowa senior associate athletics director Jane Meyer said. Potential suitors are lining up to move into the vacated Jacobson Building, but the department has yet to make a decision.

“We don’t know what fits,” Meyer said at Thursday’s Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting. “We don’t know what will work. We don’t have any conclusions on that yet.”

Iowa’s men’s and women’s gymnastics teams and the baseball and softball programs are eyeing that space. Meyer said the gymnastics program “has a great need” for a practice facility, while baseball and softball would like to install permanent batting cages there. The department also is studying the Jacobson Building as a potential food hub for its athletes following an NCAA vote last week to deregulate what schools can feed their athletes.

There’s also discussion that baseball, softball and track could move to new facilities on the campus’ west side near the indoor tennis center, soccer fields and field hockey stadium. But that remains in the discussion phase, Meyer said.

“Facilities are a critical part of the recruiting process, whether you like it or not,” Meyer said. “It’s just the reality that every time I have the opportunity to travel, we’re looking to see what’s out there, what’s available and what we do we have and what don’t we have.”

The department is bidding out the new sound system at Kinnick Stadium. It will be completed by football season. It was part of a $9 million project, which included new video boards and signage at Kinnick.

Iowa’s revenues should exceed the $84 million fiscal year budget by nearly $1 million, athletics director Gary Barta said. While final numbers are incomplete, the department’s basketball ticket sales were stronger than forecast. Athletics received $600,000 more than budgeted from the Big Ten, and contributions were up around $260,000. The department went over budget in scholarship expenditures (about $440,000) and utilities ($565,000).

Next year’s preliminary budget is set at $88 million, around the Big Ten’s center.

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