SPORTS

Kinnick Stadium upgrade estimate now at $75 million

North end zone designs still not final

The Iowa marching band performs before the game against Pittsburgh in an NCAA football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The Iowa marching band performs before the game against Pittsburgh in an NCAA football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Cost estimates for Kinnick Stadium’s north end-zone renovation have roughly doubled in the last 10 months, according to a University of Iowa capital projects document.

The 2017 fiscal year report, which was submitted to the state Board of Regents, lists the project’s price tag at $75 million. That’s up from $35-45 million when the athletics department received initial Regents permission last summer.

Rod Lehnertz, UI’s senior vice president for finance and operations, said the initial cost was configured before UI investigated the site and the scope of the project.

“Initial programming and design efforts have indicated the project costs will be more than what was originally stated,” Lehnertz wrote in an email to The Gazette. “The final scope has not yet been established, and ($75 million) is a preliminary place-holder. Whether or not the project will cost ($75 million), more than that or less, is yet to be determined, but as various design options are refined, costs will be communicated to the Board of Regents, according to standard capital project protocol.”

Iowa athletics department spokesman Steve Roe said the project remains in the design phase without a timetable for a Regents presentation and potential approval. Athletics director Gary Barta told The Gazette two weeks ago the renovation remains “in the planning process.”

UI athletics is self-supporting and will fund the enhancements through private donations, bonds and department revenue.

The north end-zone section had not been renovated since the early 1980s, and some fans have complained the seating area is cramped and uncomfortable. The project includes premium seating but discussion remains ongoing regarding the number of suites, indoor/outdoor club seating and possible patio areas as well as bleachers. Barta told The Gazette two weeks ago schematic designs are open with “probably 50 different possibilities.” More restrooms and new concession areas are expected as well.

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Iowa last renovated Kinnick Stadium in 2006 for $89 million. That included a reconstructed south end zone, west side premium seating and suites inside a new press box along with more restrooms, new locker rooms and wider concourses.

The redesign could alter stadium capacity, which now stands at 70,585. Iowa ranked 24th in football attendance last year, and Barta said he wants the program to remain in the top 25.

Iowa’s athletics department has other anticipated new capital projects for fiscal year 2017. Among them include a $5 million upgrade to the Gerdin Learning Center, $3 million to install a new antenna system at Kinnick Stadium, a $1 million renovation to the new football performance facility for space and storage, and $1.2 million to install new video boards, sound and lighting to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. All of those costs are estimates.

On Iowa State’s 2017 capital projects registry is a $7.5 million addition to Hixson-Lied Academic Center. ISU athletics will cover half the bill, with $3.75 million raised privately.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@thegazette.com

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