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SBJ/October 24 - 30, 2005/Facilities
Iowa packing its new premium seats
Published October 24, 2005
University of Iowa officials last week were one suite and 200 outdoor club seats away from selling out premium inventory at Kinnick Stadium that will open next year. Money from the sales will pay for the bulk of the $86.8 million renovation of the facility.
Private donations are financing the entire project, supported by the sale of $100 million in revenue bonds.
The university is asking for more than $16 million for naming opportunities throughout the stadium, ranging from $5 million for the new south end zone plaza entrance to $50,000 for the equipment room.
The four-story press box / hospitality structure is on its way up at Kinnick Stadium. The old press box will come down at the end of the season.
Iowa expects to generate $6 million annually from suite and club seat leases from the 46 suites, 1,160 outdoor club seats and 120 indoor club seats being built on the 76-year-old stadiums west side, said Jane Meyer, Iowas senior associate athletic director in charge of the renovation.
The school started selling suites in May 2004 and club seats the following August, she said.
In a state of 2.5 million people, its amazing what weve been able to accomplish, said Bob Bowlsby, Iowas athletic director. Im a little surprised, but not shocked. Whatever were building and have tried to do, our alumni and fans have always stepped up.
The Iowa City school is seeking a major donor to pay up to $250,000 a season for the remaining skybox, Bowlsby said. Its a 12-seater on the first suite level that sits on the 50-yard line, said Mark Jennings, associate athletic director for development.
The 45 other suites, ranging from 12 to 18 seats, sold for $45,000 to $60,000 a season. The indoor clubs are $5,000 annually and the outdoor clubs are $1,900 to $2,600 a season. Contract terms are three, five and seven years for the suites and clubs.
The university used consultants Turnkey Sports, CSL International and Grenzebach, Glier & Associates, a firm affiliated with the University of Iowa Foundation, the schools fund-raising group, to determine the appropriate premium seat mix. Martin Grenzebach conducted one-on-one interviews with 30 potential donors, Meyer said.
HNTB and local architect Neumann Monson designed the Kinnick renovation. Mortenson Construction is the general contractor.
We built our [premium seat] model on 80 percent capacity, Meyer said. Anytime you exceed that capacity, then those [additional funds] become dollars that are available for the rest of the department. Were [almost] 100 percent subscribed in our suites and indoor clubs, and thats very important from a total program perspective.
Project officials adjusted the numbers during the process, Meyer said.
We started out with 40 suites and 310 indoor club seats, and based on the letters of intent we sent out, decided to make more suites and fewer indoor clubs, she said. We may have decreased some revenue, but it wasnt significant enough to not meet the needs of the patrons.
The press box will be torn down in early December after the season. The new press box will be built on top of the premium-seat building.
The second phase includes restroom and concession upgrades on Kinnicks east and west concourses. The bleacher seats on the east and west sides will be renumbered as part of the process to increase the width of each seating space, and the stadiums capacity will decrease slightly to about 69,500, said David Sandstrom, Iowas athletic ticket manager.
All the improvements should be ready for the Hawkeyes 2006 season opener in early September.
The projects first phase, completed in August, created the new entry plaza and new grandstand in the south end zone, where students sit. There are 14,879 fixed seats and 158 seats for physically disabled fans and their companions, said Randy Bredar, HNTBs vice president of sports architecture.
The old end zone structure had 15,199 seats and virtually no concourse.
New locker rooms were built underneath the south end zone structure.
Daktronics produced Kinnicks new scoreboards and video screens debuting this season, a package exceeding $2.1 million.