University of Iowa eyes new women’s gymnastics, spirit squad training center

cigaretteman

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Backdropped by last year’s elimination of men’s gymnastics and this year’s expansion of female athletics opportunities with the addition of women’s wrestling, the University of Iowa is seeking permission to build a $7 million to $9 million women’s gymnastics and spirit squad training center.


UI officials are asking for Board of Regents permission to construct a 30,000-square-foot training center for the UI women’s gymnastics team and spirit squad south of the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.


Funding for the project would come from UI Athletic Department gifts and support a Hawkeye women’s gymnastics program that has “been a consistent top-25 team and begins the 2021 season ranked 17th in the nation,” according to regent documents.


The UI women’s gymnastics program — like the Hawkeye men’s gymnastics team before it was eliminated after last season — trains in the historic Field House, just west of the Iowa River.


“The retrofitted basketball gymnasium was renovated in 2015 to construct foam pits for safety, but the space is limited and not expandable,” according to the UI request of regents. “The Field House location has many deficiencies including limited gym space, inadequate locker room and restroom facilities, and limited temperature and humidity controls.”


Plus, according to the request, the Field House doesn’t contain appropriate facilities for strength and conditioning or training and recovery.


“A dedicated space designed specifically for gymnastics is desired to provide the facilities that are commensurate with a top-tier program,” according to board documents.


The two-story facility would include gymnastics practice space, equipment, locker rooms, a team room, coach’s office and multipurpose viewing room. It also would include space for the UI Spirit Squad, involving Iowa cheerleaders, the Iowa Dance Team and the Herky mascot.


“These three teams represent the black and gold, not only at Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but around the campus and the nation,” UI officials state.


Strength and conditioning training spaces in the new center could be shared by other sports programs, according to the request — which does not include a proposed timeline for the project.


UI Athletics last year — looking at a deficit in the tens of millions from the pandemic — announced plans to eliminate four programs: men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and men’s gymnastics.


The university backtracked on cutting women’s swimming and diving after some of the athletes sued the school for violating Title IX requirements that it provide equal athletic opportunities and scholarships to women. A judge ruled they were likely to prevail.


As part of a settlement in that lawsuit, the university not only agreed to reinstate women’s swimming and hire a Title IX monitor, but to add a women’s sport — namely wrestling.


Despite a groundswell of advocates pushing for UI to change course on the men’s cuts as well — raising millions in commitments to keep the programs going — the university has denied those requests, calling the eliminations final.


The eighth-ranked Hawkeye men’s gymnastics team in its final season in the spring finished third at the 2021 Big Ten Championships — its best finish in 15 years.


The Board of Regents will consider the project request at its meeting next week.

 

Herky T Hawk

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They aren't saying the real reason why they are doing this. Women's gymnastics is the last varsity sport that uses the Fieldhouse for regular practices and competitions. Once they are gone they will be tearing down the rest of the facility to make room for the hospital who has consumed all available space. Having said that, the gymnastics space is cramped, although with the elimination of the men's varsity team it will get better. And the Fieldhouse is almost a century old, so the behind closed doors space is probably not up to snuff for the team.

The Spirit Squads, which are co-ed but not considered a Varsity activity, use multiple different spaces in the Fieldhouse including the gymnastics floor, the north gym, sometimes the main deck, and other studio spaces. So, giving them a new space dedicated to them would be useful too. I say the not a Varsity activity line because I don't think it would be included in Title IX calculations.
 

libertyhawkeye

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They aren't saying the real reason why they are doing this. Women's gymnastics is the last varsity sport that uses the Fieldhouse for regular practices and competitions. Once they are gone they will be tearing down the rest of the facility to make room for the hospital who has consumed all available space. Having said that, the gymnastics space is cramped, although with the elimination of the men's varsity team it will get better. And the Fieldhouse is almost a century old, so the behind closed doors space is probably not up to snuff for the team.

The Spirit Squads, which are co-ed but not considered a Varsity activity, use multiple different spaces in the Fieldhouse including the gymnastics floor, the north gym, sometimes the main deck, and other studio spaces. So, giving them a new space dedicated to them would be useful too. I say the not a Varsity activity line because I don't think it would be included in Title IX calculations.
Late bump, but is this true regarding the hospital takeover of the FH? The latest long-term plan I was aware of was the University intended to build two additional towers similar to the Children's Hospital, directly to the north of it (renderings of this exist, water tower gone). I know with some certainly that the underground parking garage was built with the idea of a future development atop it. However even that seems in doubt with the $400m UI Hospital that quickly got awarded in North Liberty just recently. I think in recent years UI is thinking outside of just their main campus for expansion. IRL and NL projects are where all the recent money is going.

It would make sense the FH is not in the long-term plans of the University. It's a HUGE but also very very old complex. If anyone recalls, when the CRWC opened in 2010, that was technically 'Phase 1' of the overall project. The CRWC is a modern awesome facility, but it lacks classroom space, event rooms, and even total open floor space for bball and vball that the FH has. The scores of athletic clubs/orgs and classes are still held in the FH and not the CRWC. So I wonder if UI is content with the FH for the next ~20 years to provide adequate facilities before they invest another $100+ million expansion to the CRWC. They were supposed to replace the FH pool with a weight room a few years ago but I think that idea got scrapped or delayed. So maybe small band aid upgrades until we get to a large reinvestment of funds towards adding to the CRWC and demolishing the FH.

Besides that, it's clear the west side athletic complex is becoming what UI intended decades ago. Demolishing the outdated University grad apartments next to Melrose is allowing them to add more consolidated facilities. One of those renderings (see below) also showed a new softball field, baseball field, outdoor track, and maybe an indoor track facility?(!!!) The plan seems to be to move athletic programs there where athletes can have adjacent training facilities and locker/team rooms. Also moving from Duane Banks would be news to me. But it would open space for two full outdoor football training fields. That's all speculation from me. But point remains the west side athletics area is going to continue to grow.

 
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Herky T Hawk

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Late bump, but is this true regarding the hospital takeover of the FH? The latest long-term plan I was aware of was the University intended to build two additional towers similar to the Children's Hospital, directly to the north of it (renderings of this exist, water tower gone). I know with some certainly that the underground parking garage was built with the idea of a future development atop it. However even that seems in doubt with the $400m UI Hospital that quickly got awarded in North Liberty just recently. I think in recent years UI is thinking outside of just their main campus for expansion. IRL and NL projects are where all the recent money is going.

It would make sense the FH is not in the long-term plans of the University. It's a HUGE but also very very old complex. If anyone recalls, when the CRWC opened in 2010, that was technically 'Phase 1' of the overall project. The CRWC is a modern awesome facility, but it lacks classroom space, event rooms, and even total open floor space for bball and vball that the FH has. The scores of athletic clubs/orgs and classes are still held in the FH and not the CRWC. So I wonder if UI is content with the FH for the next ~20 years to provide adequate facilities before they invest another $100+ million expansion to the CRWC. They were supposed to replace the FH pool with a weight room a few years ago but I think that idea got scrapped or delayed. So maybe small band aid upgrades until we get to a large reinvestment of funds towards adding to the CRWC and demolishing the FH.

Besides that, it's clear the west side athletic complex is becoming what UI intended decades ago. Demolishing the outdated University grad apartments next to Melrose is allowing them to add more consolidated facilities. One of those renderings (see below) also showed a new softball field, baseball field, outdoor track, and maybe an indoor track facility?(!!!) The plan seems to be to move athletic programs there where athletes can have adjacent training facilities and locker/team rooms. Also moving from Duane Banks would be news to me. But it would open space for two full outdoor football training fields. That's all speculation from me. But point remains the west side athletics area is going to continue to grow.

My comment is all conjecture. The university wouldn't announce their plans to demolish the field house until they were ready to do it imminently. If they did it too far in advance there'd probably be a push by some to get historical status for the building to protect it. I love the field house and have a lot of memories from my undergrad years there. But it is a massive footprint for a building that is almost a century old right in prime hospital territory. I could easily see them removing at least portions of it if not the whole thing in the next 10 years.
 
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Tfxchawk

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Why do we need a building for this? More white suburban kids grifting off the work of the minority populations on campus.
 

2bagger22

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Late bump, but is this true regarding the hospital takeover of the FH? The latest long-term plan I was aware of was the University intended to build two additional towers similar to the Children's Hospital, directly to the north of it (renderings of this exist, water tower gone). I know with some certainly that the underground parking garage was built with the idea of a future development atop it. However even that seems in doubt with the $400m UI Hospital that quickly got awarded in North Liberty just recently. I think in recent years UI is thinking outside of just their main campus for expansion. IRL and NL projects are where all the recent money is going.

It would make sense the FH is not in the long-term plans of the University. It's a HUGE but also very very old complex. If anyone recalls, when the CRWC opened in 2010, that was technically 'Phase 1' of the overall project. The CRWC is a modern awesome facility, but it lacks classroom space, event rooms, and even total open floor space for bball and vball that the FH has. The scores of athletic clubs/orgs and classes are still held in the FH and not the CRWC. So I wonder if UI is content with the FH for the next ~20 years to provide adequate facilities before they invest another $100+ million expansion to the CRWC. They were supposed to replace the FH pool with a weight room a few years ago but I think that idea got scrapped or delayed. So maybe small band aid upgrades until we get to a large reinvestment of funds towards adding to the CRWC and demolishing the FH.

Besides that, it's clear the west side athletic complex is becoming what UI intended decades ago. Demolishing the outdated University grad apartments next to Melrose is allowing them to add more consolidated facilities. One of those renderings (see below) also showed a new softball field, baseball field, outdoor track, and maybe an indoor track facility?(!!!) The plan seems to be to move athletic programs there where athletes can have adjacent training facilities and locker/team rooms. Also moving from Duane Banks would be news to me. But it would open space for two full outdoor football training fields. That's all speculation from me. But point remains the west side athletics area is going to continue to grow.

Moving baseball out west makes sense and is news to me, too. Track and softball currently exist in a flood plain and bringing all the facilities into one common location would better utilize parking.
 
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