CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa athletics announced Thursday plans to construct a “team room” in the northeast corner of the UNI-Dome for its football program.
Athletics director David Harris said the $2 million dollar project is funded entirely by private gifts, including its lead donor and namesake of the room, the late Van G. Miller’s Charitable Foundation.
“We’re very grateful to so many people who donated to this project to make it a reality,” Harris said. “I especially would want to point out many of our former student-athletes, our former football players, who knew what the concerns were. Who understood the need and when asked they really stepped up to give us a chance to be able to make this happen.”
The room will include theatre seating, a partition to split up offense and defense, two digital projectors, high definition televisions and audio system and privacy screens.
Construction is scheduled to begin this winter and wrap up sometime in the fall during the 2021 football season.
Harris revealed Thursday that the original timeline included a completion date prior to the beginning of next football season.
“We’re not expecting it to be done by the beginning of the (2021) football season, (but) that actually was the original plan until the (2020) season got moved to the spring semester,” Harris said. “The dynamics that COVID-19 have created for all of us have required an adjustment to be able to be made. We expect that it will be done at some point during the season.”
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Harris and UNI football coach Mark Farley both touted the room as a “multi-functional space” with Harris calling it a “revenue enhancement” as it will be capable of providing over 100 premium seats to sell for games.
“While we expect that the revenue increase will be significant, the big thing is we feel that we have a need for more premium seating within the dome,” Harris said. “And if you look at what’s happening across the country with arenas with college football, with college basketball, there really is a premium — so to speak — with premium seating.”
Farley explained his excitement for the room by describing its future impact as “significant.”
“This room — when I say it’s going to be impactful — this room will affect the daily lives of every football player in the future that will come to the University of Northern Iowa. Because this room will be the communications center for our football team,” Farley said. “We’ve never had this room in all the years of UNI football. This will give us a place that we can all come together in a great environment.”
With the UNI-Dome still having not undergone substantial renovations since opening in 1976, more details on its multi-million dollar renovation are being worked out for a public announcement.
“The football team meeting room, for us, is phase one of the bigger plan to be able to renovate the UNI-Dome,” Harris said. “This is a first of many steps that we are going to be taking to renovate the dome in the next several years. We will be announcing plans for the dome renovation at a later date that will lay out exactly what we have in mind.”