Preliminary work underway at Carver

July 23, 2009

 

Workers from an Iowa City tree service clear trees from the northwest side of Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, July 23, 2009. The work is done to complete a utility project necessary to begin a the renovation of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Scott Dochterman/The Gazette)

Workers from an Iowa City tree service clear trees from the northwest side of Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, July 23, 2009. The work is done to complete a utility project necessary to begin a the renovation of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Scott Dochterman/The Gazette)

Utility crews have begun preparatory work on the invisible guts of Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s future renovation.

The $2 million utility project has wiped out half the parking west of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which senior associate athletics director Jane Meyer promises will be available in time for football season. The project includes water and electrical work, and a local tree service was clearing timber northwest of the arena.

“We have to get a 12-inch water line from Hawkins Drive down around sort of the footprint of where the practice facility will be,” Meyer said. “This was bid as a separate project.

“The utilities have to be out of the way before anything else begins.”

The state Board of Regents approved the $47 million renovation in June 2008. Athletics officials planned to break ground this fall, but Meyer said it’s too early to commit to a timeline because the drawings are not finalized. Iowa City’s Neumann Monson Architects and Kansas City-based HNTB are the project architects.

“I’m not even going to speak to that (a timeline) until we know where this last pricing comes in and we make sure everything is in order,” Meyer said.

Earlier this week Athletics Director Gary Barta said the utility project will lead to Carver’s renovation.

“The actual Carver project hasn’t gone to bid yet,” he said. “It’s a precursor. It’s a utility project that will allow us to do the big renovation once we go to bid sometime this fall.”

Athletics officials have received around $9 million in pledges and commitments for the project as of earlier this summer. They hope to raise $20 million privately. Associate athletics director Mark Jennings said Thursday the fundraising campaign is ahead of schedule.

The basketball facility/arena renovation includes a multi-court gym for the basketball and volleyball teams and a renovated wrestling complex. Each sport will receive new locker rooms, new coaches offices and an 8,000-square foot strength and conditioning center.

The arena renovation plan includes two hospitality rooms and 650 premium seats for men’s basketball. A courtside seat for men’s basketball is valued at $125,000 in giving over five years. A second-row seat costs $60,000 over five years. There will be 50 seats in each row. The arena also includes 550 premium club seats costing $12,500 per seat over five years.


Enthusiasm still high for Carver project

March 29, 2009

IOWA CITY – Turmoil involving the Iowa men’s basketball program has failed to dampen enthusiasm for a new basketball practice facility and Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation.

Mark Jennings, Iowa’s associate athletics director for donor and patron services, said the department has received between $8 million and $9 million in pledges for the $47 million project.

“As news comes out of the one of the sports offices, it really doesn’t affect this project because no matter if a player stays or if a player leaves, we’ve got to have the project,” Jennings said. “We’ve got to have the facility. That doesn’t slow us up any. We just keep going forward and stay positive about the project.

“Most of the people we’re seeing have been Hawkeye fans for a long time, and they’re going to be Hawkeye fans for a lot longer – no matter what players are here or gone. Thank God they feel that way.”

Four Iowa men’s basketball players have left the team within the last couple of days. Junior guard Jermain Davis said Wednesday he had obtained his scholarship release to play for Minnesota State-Mankato, a Division II school. Sophomore Jake Kelly likely is headed to an Indiana college, while sophomore Jeff Peterson and junior David Palmer also are leaving.

Both Jennings and Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said the school still plans to break ground on the new facility this fall. That counters recent rumors that Iowa will wait another year before starting on the new facility.

“No, absolutely not,” Jennings said when asked if the project is delayed. “Now, things can change. If by June the economy … who knows what the future is going to bring. But, no, right now we’re right on schedule. The plan is this fall we’re going to breaking ground.

“I wonder who starts rumors when nobody in here does?”

The basketball facility and arena renovation includes a multi-court gym for the school’s basketball and volleyball teams and a renovation to the wrestling complex. Each of those sports will receive new locker rooms, new offices for coaches and an 8,000-square foot strength and conditioning center.

The arena renovation plan includes 650 premium seats for men’s basketball. A courtside seat for men’s basketball is valued at $125,000 in giving over five years. A second-row seat will cost $60,000 over five years. There will be 50 seats in each row.

The arena also includes 550 premium club seats costing $12,500 per seat over five years. Two hospitality rooms also are included in the renovation.
The athletics departments has a goal of raising $20 million privately, and Jennings said that’s likely to happen.

The funding method is a bit different than the one presented to Iowa’s Board of Regents last summer. Barta said a bonding company provided the figures for that meeting, while the athletics department refined tailored the giving plan to donors after receiving approval.

Barta said the department received a pair of substantial gifts for the project on Thursday.

“The reception has been tremendous,” Jennings said. “I think the easy part of it is telling the story; we all know we need the facility. It’s fun to tell them about a little more about why we need the facility.”

The school also has naming opportunities for major donors. The Howard family of Iowa Falls donated $3.5 million toward the renovation and secured naming rights for their pavilion. The school has set naming rights for the basketball court at $5 million.

“I do want to emphasize the name Carver-Hawkeye Arena will not change,” Jennings said. “That will always be there.”

Jennings said in the last two days he’s had six meetings with different people about the project “and all six were nothing but positive.” Jennings and other department officials will have low-key discussions with potential donors during the I-Club’s spring banquet circuit. Lickliter is slated to speak at 11 banquets this spring as a member of the gold team.

“It’s a very important part of (increasing donations),” Jennings said of Lickliter meeting with patrons on I-Club trips.

“We know we’ve got to get this done. And we’re going to get it done.”


Barta concerned about players leaving

March 27, 2009

Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta showed unwavering support for men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter, moments after the coach acknowledged that four players are leaving his program.
   Lickliter, who is 28-36 in his two seasons at Iowa, has had nine players leave his program since taking over in April 2007. Barta, who hired Lickliter, said he was concerned with the losses but stands behind Lickliter.
   “Absolutely,” Barta said when asked if he still supports Lickliter as coach. “Obviously, the last couple of days as Todd mentioned, in having to make adjustments in our strategy here going forward … I’ve never questioned his approach, his strategy, the foundation he’s building. I continue to fully support him.”
   Sophomores Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson – who combined for 49 starts – and juniors David Palmer and Jermain Davis will transfer following the semester. Kelly and Peterson were the team’s first- and third-leading scorers, respectively. Davis, who started 11 games, will transfer to Division II Minnesota State-Mankato. Palmer graduates in May and plays to play one season of Division II basketball.
   “Everybody who cares about the Hawkeyes the last couple of days have had has angst and concern,” Barta said. “I have, our coach, and everybody who cares the program- our fans have – but clearly this an adjustment, and we’re going to adjust.
   “Sure, it concerns me, like it concerns Todd, like it concerns Hawkeyes fans, but after you talk through the situation, the concern is still there, but also we have a plan. Todd’s leading that plan, and I’m confident he’s on the right track.”


Does Iowa player situation change Carver renovation plans?

March 26, 2009

  

Renovations to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and a new basketball practice facility will start in this area of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mark Jennings, Iowa's associate athletics director for donor and patron services, said plans are still to break ground for the renovation this fall. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Renovations to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and a new basketball practice facility will start in this area of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mark Jennings, Iowa's associate athletics director for donor and patron services, said plans are still to break ground for the renovation this fall. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Turmoil involving the Iowa men’s basketball program has failed to dampen enthusiasm for a new basketball practice facility and Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation.

Mark Jennings, Iowa’s associate athletics director for donor and patron services, said the department has received between $8 million and $9 million in pledges for the $47 million project.

“As news comes out of the one of the sports offices, it really doesn’t affect this project because no matter if a player stays or if a player leaves, we’ve got to have the project,” Jennings said. “We’ve got to have the facility. That doesn’t slow us up any. We just keep going forward and stay positive about the project.

“Most of the people we’re seeing have been Hawkeye fans for a long time, and they’re going to be Hawkeye fans for a lot longer – no matter what players are here or gone. Thank God they feel that way.”

Four Iowa men’s basketball players have left the team within the last couple of days. Junior guard Jermain Davis said Wednesday he had obtained his scholarship release to play for Minnesota State-Mankato, a Division II school. Sophomore Jake Kelly likely is headed to an Indiana college, while sophomore Jeff Peterson and junior David Palmer also are leaving.  

Both Jennings and Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said the school still plans to break ground on the new facility this fall. That counters recent rumors that Iowa will wait another year before starting on the new facility.

“No, absolutely not,” Jennings said when asked if the project is delayed. “Now, things can change. If by June the economy … who knows what the future is going to bring. But, no, right now we’re right on schedule. The plan is this fall we’re going to breaking ground.

“I wonder who starts rumors when nobody in here does?”

The basketball facility and arena renovation includes a multi-court gym for the school’s basketball and volleyball teams and a renovation to the wrestling complex. Each of those sports will receive new locker rooms, new offices for coaches and an 8,000-square foot strength and conditioning center.

The arena renovation plan includes 650 premium seats for men’s basketball. A courtside seat for men’s basketball is valued at $125,000 in giving over five years. A second-row seat will cost $60,000 over five years. There will be 50 seats in each row.

The arena also includes 550 premium club seats costing $12,500 per seat over five years. Two hospitality rooms also are included in the renovation.
The athletics departments has a goal of raising $20 million privately, and Jennings said that’s likely to happen.

The funding method is a bit different than the one presented to Iowa’s Board of Regents last summer. Barta said a bonding company provided the figures for that meeting, while the athletics department refined tailored the giving plan to donors after receiving approval.

Barta said the department received a pair of substantial gifts for the project on Thursday.

“The reception has been tremendous,” Jennings said. “I think the easy part of it is telling the story; we all know we need the facility. It’s fun to tell them about a little more about why we need the facility.”

The school also has naming opportunities for major donors. The Howard family of Iowa Falls donated $3.5 million toward the renovation and secured naming rights for their pavilion. The school has set naming rights for the basketball court at $5 million.

“I do want to emphasize the name Carver-Hawkeye Arena will not change,” Jennings said. “That will always be there.”

Jennings said in the last two days he’s had six meetings with different people about the project “and all six were nothing but positive.” Jennings and other department officials will have low-key discussions with potential donors during the I-Club’s spring banquet circuit. Lickliter is slated to speak at 11 banquets this spring as a member of the gold team.

“It’s a very important part of (increasing donations),” Jennings said of Lickliter meeting with patrons on I-Club trips.

“We know we’ve got to get this done. And we’re going to get it done.”


Carver project reaches crunch time

March 4, 2009

IOWA CITY — Iowa has reached a crossroads in its efforts for a new basketball practice facility and Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation.

 

The school has raised between $8 million and $10 million for the $47 million project, which was approved by the state Board of Regents last June. Architects have design plans, and athletics officials plan to meet soon to discuss the project’s status.

 

“What we are calling it is design development, which is sort of our draft of what we want,” said Jane Meyer, Iowa’s senior associate athletics director. “It’s a wish list. It’s everything that people would want. Now what we have to decide is how you price that.”

 

Amid a massive economic downturn, fundraising efforts are not as plentiful, although the department still is receiving high-dollar pledges for the project. Iowa hopes to raise $20 million with annual debt service ranging from $1.7 million in 2010 to $3.3 million in 2034. Iowa’s athletics department is self-sufficient and does not accept funding from the university or the state.

 

It appears unlikely Iowa will raise $20 million. Previously, Athletics Director Gary Barta said the department doesn’t need to reach $20 million but wants to reach a comfortable financial level before proceeding. The $47 million price tag is not a solid number, Meyer said.

 

“What we’re saying is it still the target or not?” she said. “Or do we need to make some different choices? That is what we are waiting on right now, just … (making) sure everything is in the box and that we can afford what’s in the box.”

 

Premium seating will pay for most — if not all — the debt service. The athletics department expects to generate $21.5 million from club and courtside seating over 10 years.

 

The arena renovation calls for 100 courtside seats in two rows and 550 club seats for men’s basketball, which would replace the current collapse-style bleachers. First-row courtside seating requires a 10-year commitment of $10,000 annually per seat, and those donors also would be required to donate $15,000 to the athletics department for each seat annually for five years. Each second-row courtside seat would cost $5,000 annually per seat for 10 years and donors must contribute $7,000 per seat annually for five years.

 

Iowa plans to reseat about 4,500 seats, about 30 percent of the arena.

 

Perhaps more topical is the upgraded basketball practice facility, slated for construction north of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It includes two full-size practice gymnasiums, a strength area, locker rooms and offices. Both basketball teams and the volleyball team practice at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which create multiple issues.

 

“We have a problem here,” Iowa men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter said Monday. “We don’t have a facility that is open all of the time.

 

“Where I came from, if a guy wanted to work out at 9 a.m. due to his class schedule, that is what he did. That is not available here. We have to work through that issue.”

 

Meyer said she has discussed the project in detail with Lickliter and his staff.

 

“They’ve been kept up to speed all along with us showing them different ideas,” Meyer said. “They’ve been up to speed in regards to we’re looking at the courts and all that stuff. They’ve been involved, but they’re not intimately involved because at some point we’re going to go to them and say do you want the outlet here? Do you want the video screen here? Those are the things that at some point we’ll go into much greater details. But they have seen conceptual ideas.”

 

Meyer emphasized Tuesday during a Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting that the project was vital to upgrade the arena and reduce practice congestion. But the price tag is what is keeping the university from its design development phase to construction documents and bidding.

 

“Everybody wants everything. Kinnick has been a wonderful model for us. We got almost everything that we wanted the key part is the functionality. It’s a very nice base, but it’s very functional and it works. And that’s what we’re looking at as well.”


Carver project still a priority for Iowa

December 27, 2008

IOWA CITY — Six months after state regents approved a $47 million renovation and basketball practice addition to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, athletics department officials still are trying to raise funds for the project.
Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said the department has raised more than $7.5 million in private commitments for the facility overhaul. The department hopes to raise as much as $20 million privately for the project.
This past week we’ve had three verbal commitments — all above $100,000,” Barta said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but our goal is to break ground sometime late summer, and we’re still on schedule to do that. But we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then.”
Iowa faces many obstacles in completing the renovation, including an economic recession and natural disasters that sapped many private contributions in the last six months. But competitors both within the state and Big Ten already have an advantage over Iowa in basketball facilities, which intensifies Iowa’s efforts to start the renovation quickly.
All but three Big Ten schools have stand-alone basketball practice facilities. Most of them have recent upgrades or are like Indiana and Purdue, which are in the process of building new basketball complexes. In-state foe Iowa State will have a new $8 million basketball practice facility by next fall after an Ames developer donated land and agreed to help build it.
“In this world of big-time athletics, to not have a practice facility I think it’s one more obstacle for teams as they struggle to get recruits,” said Bobby Hansen, former Iowa and NBA player and radio color analyst for Iowa men’s basketball. “Believe me, every time they go out and are visiting the competition, one of the first places they would show them would probably be the locker rooms. That’s where the kids are going to spend the majority of their time and in the practice facility.
“Now, it will get done here at the University of Iowa; we just don’t have a great timetable at this point. We’ve moved forward and gotten the approval from the Regents and we’ll try to get this thing started in 2009. I guess the only thing I can say is, the sooner the better.”
Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter acknowledges facilities are important in the recruiting process, but he is more concerned with helping his current players expand their skills. That’s difficult when both of Iowa’s basketball teams share competition and practice space with the volleyball squad at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa’s top-ranked wrestling team competes in the arena, as do the school’s gymnastics teams.
Sharing the arena creates time challenges, as demonstrated in one November weekend in which the volleyball team competed twice, the wrestling team hosted Arizona State, the women’s basketball team held a tournament and Iowa’s men’s basketball team hosted a game. There wasn’t enough time or space at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Lickliter’s team and his opponent to practice, so Iowa practiced several miles away at the North Dodge Athletic Club. Oakland, Iowa’s opponent, practiced in the Field House’s North Gym, which hasn’t been used for competitive basketball since the 1982-83 season.
Oakland Coach Greg Kampe was highly critical of Iowa, calling the North Gym a “god-awful” place. Kampe told Lickliter he was concerned for his players’ safety by practicing at the aging facility. Lickliter denied any notion that Kampe was promoting an agenda to increase awareness about Iowa’s facility.
“We’re not close friends, we know each other and all,” Lickliter said. “It wasn’t something where he was pushing for me; it was something where he’d experienced it. He knew how he’d experienced other venues and knew the differences. I think it caught him at a time where he was willing to voice his opinion.”
Lickliter primarily wants a new practice facility so his players can shoot at the same location any time of the day.
“I’ve said this a number of times that if we recruit high achievers, they want to know ‘Where am I going to be able to do my individual work?’” Lickliter said. “That’s a real key where you can get in and do some shooting where it’s available at all hours.
“Our greatest need is a practice facility. This is a great game venue, so do I have a priority? Yeah, I do. My priority would be for a practice facility. But I’m very much a team guy. I love the Hawkeyes. I want to do what’s best for us in the long run.”
But adding a less expensive practice facility without improving the arena and the athletics department’s many offices is not feasible, Barta said. The project would refurbish the wrestling area, weight training facilities, department offices and elevators.
“The challenge with trying to break something like this up is you might get a part of it done, but you need the whole thing done,” Barta said. “There’s a chance if you get a small part of it done, you may never get the rest of it done.
“Right now our plan is we need the whole thing, we’re going to do the whole thing and as I told a couple of people and sent a letter to our campaign committee, Plan A is we’ve just got to continue to work hard. Plan B is to be successful with Plan A.”
Barta hasn’t set a monetary goal for the department before moving forward with the project. His predecessor, Bob Bowlsby, and other department officials raised $14 million privately toward the $89 million renovation at Kinnick Stadium. The department reseated the stadium to help pay for that renovation, and that’s how Iowa plans to pay for the Carver-Hawkeye Arena project.
In the arena, Iowa plans to replace the current collapsed seating structure and build permanent premium seating areas. Iowa will build two rows (100 seats) of courtside seating and 550 seats of club seating areas. The department expects to raise more than $21 million in new revenue generated from premium seating over the next 10 years. By reseating the arena based on donation levels, Iowa officials estimate to raise another $900,000 annually.
But those financial estimates aren’t a given in today’s economic climate. Barta, however, isn’t deterred.
“I had somebody come up and reminded me that when Carver-Hawkeye Arena was built, it was during the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Barta said. “I went back and looked up what the environment was economically and inflation and unemployment were at 10 and 11 percent, respectively — I think I’m right in saying that — and the prime rate was like 21 percent. So, we’re going through tough economic times, no question, but the need is great.”
Lickliter knows that better than anyone. He said the practice facility “was a topic” when he and Barta negotiated a memo of understanding in April 2007 for Lickliter to coach the Hawkeyes.
There were preliminary disagreements with other staffers over the court size but those have been resolved. Iowa officials have not received the project’s final designs from architects.
Hansen said everyone knows the project needs to be completed, but it will take a little more patience to make it a reality.
“We’re here to educate these young players and provide them a positive experience, and it just seems that moving them off campus to the North Dodge facility or to North Liberty (Recreation Center) that doesn’t make sense to me,” Hansen said. “But you’ve got to prove you can pay for it. I think Gary Barta’s doing it the right way; you can’t just willy-nilly and throw it out there. Yeah, we’d all like a bigger house or whatever it might be, but it has to be done responsibly and that’s the approach that he’s taken.
“It’s going to take a little more time, but it will get done.”
Contact the writer (319) 339-3169 or scott.dochterman@gazcomm.com


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