Rec services plans to redo intramural fields east of stadium

sketch of renovated SE intramural fields

Overview of the layout at the southeast intramural fields following a proposed $10 million improvement project. At the top of the image is Jack Trice Stadium. Image courtesy of recreation services.

On the heels of improvements to the intramural fields east of the Maple Willow Larch (MWL) residence complex, recreation services proposes similar upgrades to its fields east of Jack Trice Stadium. The state Board of Regents' property and facilities committee will review a $10 million plan at the group's Aug. 1 meeting in Urbandale. The committee could send it on to the full board for final approval Sept. 13.

The plan reconfigures and renovates about 40 acres on the east side of University Boulevard and adds an irrigation system, lights and restrooms. Six softball fields, eight sand volleyball courts and about a dozen soccer/football fields would be distributed between north and south sections, separated by about 650 parking spots (grass and gravel) and a service building.

Recreation services director Mike Giles said it's all about meeting student demand for more activities.

"The lights and the irrigation system will enhance and expand our capacity at what is a primary location for us," he said. "Without lights, we have to stop outdoor activities at 6 or 7 p.m. This will let us schedule intramurals up to midnight" -- a typical scheduling plan among university recreation programs, he added -- as well as later into the fall and earlier in the spring.

Giles said the updates also should strengthen town-gown collaboration by making the facility more appealing to non-university summer users such as Special Olympics, Iowa Games and new clients, and help increase off-season revenue.

He said his goal is to first use the renovated fields for intramural leagues in fall 2020. Site work would begin next spring and crews would seed the grass in early fall 2019 for fall, spring and summer growing. Completing the MWL recreation fields this fall will help absorb some of the ongoing demand during construction on the southeast fields, he said.

Student fees will pay for the improvements. Giles said student fees won't be raised. Recreation services is a self-funded auxiliary unit receiving no appropriation or tuition dollars.

"We are responsible for operating, maintaining and upgrading all of our facilities, outdoor or indoor," he noted.

Budget, windows, Gerdin addition

The regents meeting will be based at the board office. Agenda documents are online, and audio of public portions of the meeting will be livestreamed on the board's website.

The board is expected to approve changes to its own policy manual (chapter 1.4) to include a public comment period at all regular meetings (excluding telephonic or special meetings). Board president Mike Richards began piloting the comment period in June 2017. This replaces a little-used practice that required members of the public to go to designated campus locations prior to meetings to video-record their comments for board members.

Board members will hear presentations on the regent institutions' budgets for the fiscal year that began July 1. Iowa State leaders also will seek final board approval to:

  • Proceed with planning to convert the top three floors of the Memorial Union from hotel rooms to offices and collaborative spaces for existing student services, including the veterans center, student legal services, study abroad center, LGBTQIA+ student success, NCORE/ISCORE and international students and scholars. Estimated cost is $11 million, to be funded with student fees.
  • Build a $28 million, 40,000-square-foot east addition to Gerdin Building containing instruction, office and collaborative spaces for the Ivy College of Business. University funds and private gifts will pay for the addition.
  • Proceed with planning to construct education and outreach facilities, feed mill tower (replacing three outdated ones) and feed storage buildings at the Curtiss Farm southwest of Ames. Private gifts will cover the estimated $21.2 million price tag.
  • Renovate Curtiss Hall third floor for administrative offices for staff in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and English department faculty and graduate students. The $2.3 million cost would be funded by college funds and private gifts.
  • Replace windows and window blinds in Birch, Welch, Roberts, Helser (summer 2019), Oak and Elm (summer 2020) residence halls -- a total of 2,244 windows -- for an estimated $12.7 million. Residence department funds will cover the cost.
  • Eliminate two centers, the Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI Design Center in the electrical and computer engineering department, and the Asteroid Deflection Research Center, which will become the Asteroid Defense Research Consortium and collaborate with the international community on this issue.