The athletic department’s proposal for renovating the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium started at $30 million, the most expensive upgrade to the stadium since the $89 million south end zone revamp/press box build in 2006. Less than a year later, the pricetag has grown to $75 million and might not be done.
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.”
In other words, this isn’t a function of spiraling costs as much as not understanding the costs to begin with. The north end zone desperately needs a revamp, and Iowa athletics is so awash in cash that the pricetag doesn’t matter too much.
Also on the docket: A $3 million upgrade to Kinnick’s WiFi and $1 million in storage at the football complex, making the athletics department the most expensive spare room where you put your WiFi router in the state.
HERE COMES YOUR MAN
Iowa basketball ranked 19th nationally in attendance last season. It’s the third consecutive year that the Hawkeyes have ranked in the national top 20.
Let’s do the bad news first: It rarely feels like there’s a huge crowd at CHA, a function of layout (which can’t be fixed, at least not easily), ticket policy (which can but won’t), and the stadium’s ancient sound and video systems (which have been, and are being, fixed as we speak). Iowa State is only three spots ahead of Iowa on the attendance list, but not even the most adamant Cyclone basher can claim that the atmospheres in CHA and Hilton are similar.
The good news: Even without those things, people are showing up at games. For those of us who were around for Brown Seat Nights during the Lickliter era, it’s a massive improvement that will need to be sustained during a potential rebuilding year. And if the upgrades are as magical as we’ve been told, Iowa might be able to fill student seats and make everyone else a bit louder. We have largely solved the attendance issue. We now need to solve home court advantage.
The Ladies Football Academy brought in $346,000 for our friends at UI Children’s Hospital and got us some C.J. Beathard Glamour Shots.
ESPN’s newest rankings of the 2018 basketball recruiting class rank Muscatine’s Joe Weiskamp, an Iowa commit, at No. 25 nationally. He’s the highest-ranked committed player in the class.
Hammer and Rails thinks Purdue should get a stadium train. At least their fans would have something to watch.
Michigan is so envious of our linebacker Bo Bower that they’re trying to get their own.
The “O.J.: Made in America” 30 for 30 documentary starting Saturday on ABC has been declared the best thing ESPN has ever done by Dan LeBatard and Spencer Hall, and Drew Magary says you can’t unsee it after watching it. And if Dan LeBatard, Spencer Hall and Drew Magary say you should watch something, you should watch that thing.
Happy birthday to Pixies and Breeders bassist Kim Deal. Summer is ready when you are.