Aug. 14, 2008
Basketball facility moves forward
by Anne Krapfl
Planning for a new basketball practice facility for the athletics department will continue, following a green light from the state Board of Regents Aug. 7.
Private developer Dickson Jensen will build the proposed 34,000-square-foot facility on two acres of land at the northeast intersection of South Dakota Avenue and Mortensen Road in west Ames. When it's completed, as early as next fall, Iowa State will buy the building for not more than $6.9 million. Jensen will donate the land to the university through the ISU Foundation.
In introducing the proposal, president Gregory Geoffroy said a designated practice facility will improve the lives of team members, as athletes and university students. With stable practice times in the late afternoon, student athletes would be able to use campus dining services during normal hours, and they'd have their evenings free for studying and tutoring sessions, including services offered at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, Geoffroy said.
The men's and women's basketball teams rotate their practices among Hilton, Forker Building and State Gym courts in the afternoon and evening.
He said the pricetag to add a basketball practice facility to Hilton has escalated to $35 million or more, putting that option "out of reach" for now.
Athletics director Jamie Pollard called the proposed facility "not lavish."
"It's a mid-size car, not an SUV," he noted. But he also said it will greatly help recruiting efforts, noting that the lack of a good, designated basketball practice facility is a top reason basketball recruits opt not to come to Iowa State.
Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said private fund raising for a practice facility had begun and will continue over the next year. At the time of purchase, Iowa State will seek the difference between what is raised privately and the purchase price (up to $6.9 million) from the regents' master lease program. Athletics department revenues will pay back the lease program over not more than 10 years.
Madden said an independent firm, Convention, Sports and Leisure International, has confirmed the "reasonableness" of the repayment schedule based on projected revenues in the athletics department.
According to the proposal, the athletics department will spend an additional $1.1 million to equip and furnish the building. In addition to two gymnasiums and locker rooms, it will house the offices of the basketball staffs, meeting rooms, weight room and sports medicine area.
Following his annual review with board members, Geoffroy received a 6.7 percent increase ($25,000) to his base salary for the fiscal year that began July 1. His new salary is $423,316. Geoffroy could receive a "performance payout" of $25,000 to $50,000 following his evaluation next summer. Board president David Miles will work with Geoffroy to set the goals in that incentive plan.
"The board has great confidence in President Geoffroy's leadership," Miles said. "In the most recent year, we were very pleased with Iowa State's growth in enrollment, particularly among freshmen; the raising of more than $135 million in private funds; and ISU's continued placement among the top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report."
Miles said market forces also play into the board's decisions.
"Competition for persons with the qualities to lead large, complex, public universities such as Iowa State is becoming ever more fierce, and if we are to retain proven leaders such as President Geoffroy, it is important that our compensation remains competitive," he said.
Miles said adding an incentive component to the regent university presidents' compensation is about the board's accountability to Iowans.
"By placing a portion of President Geoffroy's compensation 'at risk' through a performance incentive linked to measurable goals, we hope to ensure that his activities align with the highest priorities of the board, and to set an example for the entire university," Miles said.
Geoffroy also has a deferred compensation package (since FY06), which will pay him an additional $75,000 a year if he remains the university president through 2011.
In other business, the regents:
". . . if we are to retain proven leaders such as President Geoffroy, it is important that our compensation remains competitive."