Nov. 4, 2010

Athletics department gets first green light for new outdoor complex

by Anne Krapfl

Iowa State received permission Oct. 28 from the state Board of Regents to hire RDG Planning and Design to develop plans for a new sports complex in the green space east of Wallace and Wilson residence halls (the Towers). As outlined, the $10.7 million complex would include practice and competition facilities, as well as office/training/locker room buildings for the Cyclone softball, soccer and men's and women's track teams. There isn't a timeline for the project yet. The site currently is used by ISU recreation services for activities such as rugby, soccer, flag football and lacrosse.

The Southwest Athletics Complex (which includes softball, baseball and track facilities) and the current soccer complex east of the Lied Center would be reallocated to ISU recreation services for club sport programs.

The athletics department proposes to pay for the complex with private gifts and debt financing that uses discretionary and other gift revenues. Neither general university support nor new student fees would be sought.

Also at the board meeting, the athletics department received permission to purchase a new Daktronics video scoreboard and sound system for Jack Trice Stadium, costing up to $4 million. The new system will be installed in the north end of the stadium and integrated with the Jacobson Building.

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden noted that the current sound system is ineffective in many areas of the stadium. He also said that removing the current scoreboard, which was installed in 2002, begins the long-term vision of "bowling in" (permanent stadium seating) the south end of the stadium.

This purchase would be financed over 10 years and paid for with guaranteed revenue in the department's multimedia contract with Learfield Communications. Again, no general university support or increased student fees would be needed to pay for this purchase.

Flood update

Madden also provided a flood recovery update to the regents. He said university leaders continue to use the $40-$50 million cost estimate, "but as we proceed, things are coming in on the low side of estimates." He's optimistic the actual cost will be on the low side of the estimate.

Madden said the university has received approximately $6 million cash from insurance payments so far. The 12-member Disaster Recovery Coordinating Team is working closely with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) representatives on strategies for better "flood-proofing" key buildings such as Scheman and Hilton.

The board approved the option of bond financing, outlined in U.S. Treasury regulations, to help pay for flood-related recovery costs, if necessary. Madden said he doesn't think the university will need to use this option.

"I believe we can cash-flow the flood expenses," he said.

Annual tech transfer report

Vice president for research and economic development Sharron Quisenberry presented the university's FY10 economic development and technology transfer report to the board. In brief oral comments, she told the regents that "research is the engine that drives the economy." She said Iowa State will help create an "innovation economy" in the state by anticipating emerging areas of growth.

Among the university's achievements she cited for the year that ended June 30:

  • $388.2 million in grants, contracts, gifts and cooperative agreements, a 27 percent increase over the previous year's record
  • $58 million in revenue for Iowa companies as a result of technology licensed by the university (calendar year 09)
  • 26 patent applications filed
  • 29 patents awarded
  • 260 license and option agreements that generated income for the university
  • $9.4 million in royalty and license fee income

Quisenberry's written report to the regents (PDF) is online at the board's Oct. 28 meeting website (pp. 41-59 in the report).