Work resumed last month on the green space south of Jack Trice Stadium, the final element of a multiphase plan to increase the stadium's capacity and add a club section. The plaza, which replaces a former parking lot immediately south of the Sukup Endzone Club, links the stadium to Reiman Gardens.
A pool and fountain, elevated circular walkway, paved walkways and an ambitious layout of shrubs, grasses and perennial flowers were removed from the plaza's design over the winter. The changes saved nearly $1.5 million in construction costs, but more importantly, they'll greatly reduce annual maintenance costs, said project manager Jon Harvey.
"The water features and perennials would require considerable expense to keep them up," he noted.
A large sculpture remains in the plaza design, and stone walls constructed for the elevated walkway will serve another use. The spaces behind the wall sections have been filled and graded as hillsides.
Harvey said the revised design is simpler and "more park-like," and creates options for a greater mix of activities. It will retain its ring shape, but inside a poured sidewalk will be mostly lawn, trees and a few perennials.
The athletics department will be able to erect football gameday tents in the area. It also could work for small concerts or receptions, Harvey said.
A building on the west edge of the plaza houses utility connections and irrigation controls for the site.
Last summer, this project added signage and upgraded the entrance to Reiman Gardens. A portion of a $25 million gift from Roy and Bobbi Reiman in 2014 is paying for the plaza and entrance improvements.
Harvey said work should wrap up this summer by mid-August.