116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Inflation and supply chain issues have driven up the cost of two premiere University of Iowa construction projects about to begin — including a new wrestling facility featuring state-of-the-art locker rooms and practice spaces for the Hawkeye men’s and women’s wrestling teams.
A revised project cost for the two-level, 38,500-square-foot wrestling practice and operations facility directly connected to Carver-Hawkeye Arena is $31.6 million — up 19 percent from an already increased budget of $26.5 million and nearly 83 percent above the project’s original cost of $17.3 million.
The university is seeking Board of Regents approval for the budget increase, a result of “market volatility, inflation, and supply chain issues,” according to regent documents.
That entire project is being paid for with UI Athletic Department gifts and donations.
The UI also is seeking board approval to increase its budget for a 7,330-square-foot, two-level expansion to its State Hygienic Lab that would allow it to maintain its status as a biological and chemical reference lab for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Laboratory Response Network.
That project, being funded entirely by CDC grants, now is expected to cost $12.2 million — 33 percent above the original $9.2 million budget announced in January. Construction of the biosafety lab, plus additional space, will allow the Coralville-based State Hygienic Lab to consolidate its “high-throughput COVID-19 testing into one location” and support Homeland Security agencies across the state “to rule out or confirm select agents and toxins of clinical and environmental agents.”
Given that project is tied to grants requiring its completion by June 30, 2023, the university obtained rushed board approved in January to begin procuring equipment in March. The original construction schedule had work starting in May, although that’s been pushed to next month.
For that project, planning, design, management, contingency and construction costs have gone up. For the wrestling facility, construction-related expenses make up the entirety of the recent increase — jumping 25 percent from $20.1 million to $25.1 million.
The wrestling project includes an underground tunnel connecting it to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and it incorporates new locker rooms not only for the men’s wrestling team but for the new women’s team — which were added to the project after the UI in September became the first Power Five conference school to launch a women’s program.
“As the quality of space directly influences the success of the program, the planned space would provide the needed resources to be a national leader in men’s and women’s wrestling, and would strengthen recruiting activities, donor cultivation and alumni events,” according to board documents.
Although donations and gifts will cover construction of the new wrestling facility, regent documents indicate the UI Athletic Department will cover the expected $190,000 annually in operating and maintenance costs.
Iowa turf fields
The university this month also is seeking regent approval to spend $5 to $5.3 million on upgrades to six sports fields and renovations to its Hawkeye Recreation Services Building on the northwest corner of the UI Athletics campus.
That project involves constructing six synthetic turf fields, replacing perimeter fencing, removing overgrown vegetation, site regrading, installing storm drainage infrastructure, removing basketball courts, and renovating the restrooms, showers, and sidewalks of the Hawkeye Recreation Services Building, according to documents.
Compelling the proposal are physical deficiencies plaguing the university’s “west recreation fields,” which were built in 1995, according to the UI project proposal.
“This facility provides the only outdoor recreation fields available on campus and has not been fully utilized for over 20 years,“ according to board documents. ”Events and activities must be regularly rescheduled or canceled, including the cancellation of entire seasons for some sports due to significant rainfall.“
Wet areas, recurring low points and compacted soils can create safety issues for the users — including students, faculty and staff.
Scheduled programs at the fields largely are focused on students and include 15 intramural sports offered annually, “highlighted by flag football’s 700 participants.”
“The facility also serves as the home site for practices and competitions for 11 sports clubs, some that are nationally ranked,” according to board documents. “Beyond sporting events, the facility supports late night activities that create safe and productive alternatives for students, such as glow in the dark flag football, laser tag, archery tag, residence hall games and team-building functions for graduate students.”
The project could add an estimated 60 more days of use each year.
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