November 2013

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Page 26 of 56

Football Operations Center Update By Matt Weitzel B ye week became tour week for several members of the University of Iowa football staff. Outside of players healing and working on fundamentals during the team's bye week in midOctober, the UI football coaching staff spent time checking out their new digs at the operations facility being constructed across the street. Phase II of the project has been under way for several months and with winter approaching, the construction crew is working diligently to get the infrastructure enclosed. "Our push right now is to get all the structural steel in place and then roof deck on top," said Jeff Harney, senior construction manager. "We're starting east-to-west as you walk through the facility. Strength and conditioning will be the last part that will be covered, but the nice thing about that is it has the least amount of interior work to it. The east space, where the office space is, will be enclosed shortly." Fans walking near the facility can see the beginning stages of bricks being placed along the east wall — a project that Harney says should take 6-to-8 weeks to complete. The strength and conditioning area, which will be on the west side of the facility, will feature 22,500 squarefeet of space that will include the newest top-of-the-line equipment for the student-athletes. "The reason that area is going up last is because there is not a lot in there and it shouldn't take a lot of time to complete once enclosed," said Harney. "When you get in to some of the office and meeting room spaces, there is much more that goes into it." When the UI coaches toured the facility, they were able to stand in the space that will house their new offices, and each will have a view of Kinnick Stadium. University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz says it is one thing to see the diagrams and drawings, but to actually get a feel for the size and see the view from the main window toward the stadium had a significant impact on everyone on the tour. "It's a little easier to visualize how nice it will be after walking through it," said Ferentz. "We're looking forward to the next bye week when we'll get another update. It's pretty spectacular." The Hawkeyes do not play Nov. 16. While the coaches were taking part in the tour, there was time for interaction between some of the construction workers and UI coaching staff. "Coach Ferentz was gracious enough to stop and take photos and do some autograph signings," said Harney. "A lot of the guys on this job have been lifelong Hawkeye fans and they feel indebted to do this. It was a nice opportunity for many working on the job." Harney described the building process of the operations center as demanding and says it is important to meet deadlines with a scheduled completion date set for summer 2014. "We have multiple areas working simultaneously on the job," he said. "There are no two spaces that are similar; we have public space, locker room space, medical space, pool equipment space… there's a lot of different areas within this facility that make it a challenge." The total project, which encompasses Phase I and Phase II, has a budget of $55 million, and will be paid for entirely by the UI Athletics Department through the Iowa Football Legacy fundraising campaign and other department revenues. 27

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