Iowa Football

Kinnick Stadium's north end zone renovation is about more than just gameday

New space enhances viewing experience and will also be used for weddings and other events

IOWA CITY — Pairing your love for your future spouse with your love for Hawkeye football?

The University of Iowa is looking to tap into that and other events as its $89.9 million renovation to the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium nears completion.

Assistant athletics director for facilities Damian Simcox said he expects the renovation to “come down to the last week” until the beginning of the college football season. Most of the remaining work is finishing touches, Simcox said.

“If we end up playing a game tomorrow, we’d be ready tomorrow,” Simcox said.

Weddings, business meetings, university events and recruiting events are among events the Hawkeyes can now host along the north end zone.

“That’s a source (of income) that we didn’t have before,” said Matt Henderson, one of UI’s senior associate athletics directors. “That’s a new income stream we’re excited to capitalize on.”

The Ted Pacha Family Club, which requires a $1,958 donation per seat along with a $450 season ticket, is the focal point of the project. The 17,000-square foot area has private restrooms, an expanded menu, high-definition TVs and Wi-Fi service.

Henderson said the panoramic views of Kinnick Stadium in the club level make the event especially attractive for recruiting.

Many of these events previously occurred in the press box, Henderson said, but the 17,000-square-foot Ted Pacha Family Club provides more adequate space.

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The upgrade converted general admission seating in the north end zone into two general admission decks with an exclusive club area in between.

Henderson said the money for the project came from three sources — private funding, premium seating sales and general athletic funds.

On the exterior of Kinnick, UI erected a statue of 1920s Hawkeye player Duke Slater from a game against Notre Dame. Slater was widely considered one of the best football players from his decade.

Inside Kinnick, the renovation includes a 200-percent increase in women’s restrooms and 80-percent increase in men’s restrooms. It also features widened concourses and seats for easier movement and a more comfortable fan experience.

“I think fans will love it,” Simcox said. “It’s very fan friendly. ... I think they’ll really enjoy this north end zone.”

Kinnick lost about 1,500 seats in the renovation. Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said the quality of seats taking priority over quantity of seats has been a national trend he’s seen.

Simcox said the department views the decrease in attendance as simply “offering better amenities for our fans.”

Other Power Five schools to reduce capacity of football stadiums include Alabama, Notre Dame and Penn State.

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The upgrades to the north end zone are part of a series of Kinnick renovations. The Board of Regents approved a $1.91 million project in 2018 to improve the structural integrity of the east stands. UI also shelled out $478,000 to replace the Kinnick turf this April.

l Comments: john.steppe@thegazette.com

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