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IOWA CITY — Iowa athletics director Gary Barta is eyeing eventual upgrades to the Hawkeyes’ baseball, softball, field hockey and outdoor track and field facilities, he said last week.
The projects are in the “feasibility study mode,” Barta said at a recent Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting.
Duane Banks Field would stay in its current location, but Iowa is considering “adding significantly to the structure around the field,” including restrooms.
Field hockey could see a similar project to the recent upgrades to the nearby soccer facility. It would include locker rooms, team rooms and a press box.
Potential upgrades to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the outdoor track facility and softball’s Pearl Field also are in this preliminary stage.
“We had renovated and invested in an indoor track,” Barta said. “So now we're going to start looking at outdoor track.”
There still are some steps before any of those renovations come into fruition, though. Barta has a go-to phrase when it comes to athletics facilities projects.
“Vision without resources is irrelevant,” Barta said.
His staff has been “creating the vision.” Now he needs the resources.
Donations particularly took a hit in the 2020-21 fiscal year as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on collegiate sports, dropping more than $20 million from the previous fiscal year, according to the most recent NCAA financial report.
The lack of donations was tied largely to the lack of season ticket sales when stadiums either prohibited or heavily limited attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Status of projects already announced
Progress continues on the already-announced new wrestling and gymnastics buildings.
The construction of the new $26.5 million Iowa wrestling complex attached to Carver-Hawkeye Arena is expected to begin “later this spring, early this summer,” Barta said.
The wrestling facility is completely donor-funded.
Next in the athletics department’s “queue” is the new building for Iowa’s gymnastics and spirit squad programs — a proposed facility across from the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex that is expected to cost between $7 million and $9 million.
“The fieldhouse has been old for a long time,” Barta told The Gazette. “We’ve always known that eventually what we want is a stand-alone facility.”
Unlike the wrestling project, Iowa still has more fundraising and designing to do before construction begins on the gymnastics practice facility. It is “moving along at a good pace,” Barta said, but it’s too early to have a construction timeline.
“We have a couple of lead commitments from some donors,” Barta said.
The progress on the wrestling and gymnastics facilities goes back to Barta’s overall philosophy on the topic.
“Why are those facilities further along?” Barta asked rhetorically in the PCA meeting. “Because we have resources.”
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