Iowa Plans $90 Million Kinnick Stadium Renovations

12 October 2016

Plans for a multi-tiered nearly $90 million replacement for the north end zone grandstand at Kinnick Stadium will be presented to the Iowa Board of Regents next week.

The project addresses demand for additional club-level premium seating at the stadium and long-standing concerns fans have had about concessions and restroom facilities in the existing north grandstand built in 1983.

“To me, this is kind of the next step of the program pushing forward,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “It’s like anything in life, it’s competitive. If you’re not pushing forward, you’re probably not doing the right thing. It’s the next step.”

The project is part of the Iowa athletics department master plan and its $89.9 million price tag will be funded entirely by athletics department gifts and earnings, including additional revenue the department will receive from the Big Ten through increased television rights contracts.

In estimating anticipated conference distribution dollars from the Big Ten, Iowa anticipates the $34.4 million included in its 2016-17 budget to grow to $53.9 million in the 2024-25 budget.

Those additional dollars would in part be used to retire up to $100 million in athletics facilities bonds issued for the project.

As was the case with an $86 million renovation in 2006 which included construction of south end zone seating and a new press box and suite facilities, no tax dollars will be spent on the project which is part of the long-term master plan for Iowa’s self-supporting athletics department.

Details of the project were unveiled in documents released Tuesday, and Regents will be asked to approve the schematic design, financing plan, project description and budget for the project on Oct. 19 during its meeting at Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The new project is scheduled to be built within the existing stadium footprint, adjacent to Evashevski Drive, and will include a total of 10,234 seats to maintain a total capacity of over 70,000 at Kinnick Stadium.

“I’ve seen some drawings, and they just look spectacular,” Ferentz said.

Two levels of grandstand seating totaling 8,516 seats are planned, with one seating bowl located below and one situated above a premium club level that would include 1,570 outdoor club seats.

A skywalk from an existing West Campus Transportation Center to the north will provide access to thec club level and the upper grandstand area will include elevated open decks at the east and west ends, providing views of the field and places for fans to congregate.

In discussing preliminary plans for the project in July, director of athletics Gary Barta said beyond addressing needs to modernize the facility, the project’s objective was to offer different experiences than are currently available at Kinnick Stadium.

“The idea is to have something for every fan whether you want to come in at the lowest price point or something more, a suite or a club seat,” Barta said.

The proposal Regents will consider calls the project “fundamental to the mission of the football program, athletics department and the University of Iowa to ensure the continued patronage by fans, supporters and prospective student-athletes for years to come.”

Current plans call for construction to be completed prior to the 2019 football season.

Some preliminary work would take place prior to the 2017 season, with the existing north grandstand razed following in the weeks following Iowa’s home finale next season against Purdue on Nov. 18.

The lower and upper bowl general admission areas are expected to be completed before the Hawkeyes’ 2018 home opener. All construction would be completed prior to the 2019 football season.

DON’T COUNT ON IT: When asked, all-American cornerback Desmond King has said on multiple occasions he would be willing to step into action on the offensive side of the ball if needed.

With King already playing nearly every defensive snap and handling kickoff and punt return duties, coach Kirk Ferentz said the chances of that happening remain slim.

“It’s easier said than done,’’ Ferentz said, adding that finding practice time to facilitate that type of a move would be difficult and would detract from King’s other responsibilities.

King played running back in high school at East English Village Prep in Detroit, earning all-state honors after rushing for 2,360 yards as a senior.

REMEMBERING RON: Ferentz began his weekly news conference by expressing condolences to the family of Ron Stewart, who died Sunday morning in Des Moines at the age of 76.

Known as Sheriff Ron to a generation of Hawkeye players, the Polk County deputy sheriff provided on-field security for Iowa coach Hayden Fry and Ferentz and assisted in security efforts wherever the team traveled for 32 years before retiring in 2014.

“He did it out of love for the program and for the people involved,’’ Ferentz said.

HEALTHY HAWKS: While Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner and offensive lineman Jonah Pirsig will miss the Golden Gophers game this week at Maryland with injuries suffered in the Iowa game, Ferentz said the Hawkeyes came out of the game generally unscathed.

LIMITED SEATS: Between 200-300 tickets remain for Iowa’s next home game, an 11 a.m. kickoff against Wisconsin on Oct. 22. Iowa also announced Tuesday that the Nov. 12 home game against Michigan is sold out.


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