Field House slated for updates

The state Board of Regents approved plans for new renovations to the Field House, the first since 1984.

Patrons+swim+in+the+Field+House+pool+on+Tuesday.+The+Field+house+renovation+plans+call+for+the+removal+of+the+pool+in+order+to+increase+the+amount+of+space+available+for+workout+rooms.+%28Nick+Rohlman%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Field House slated for updates

Patrons swim in the Field House pool on Tuesday. The Field house renovation plans call for the removal of the pool in order to increase the amount of space available for workout rooms. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Patrons swim in the Field House pool on Tuesday. The Field house renovation plans call for the removal of the pool in order to increase the amount of space available for workout rooms. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Patrons swim in the Field House pool on Tuesday. The Field house renovation plans call for the removal of the pool in order to increase the amount of space available for workout rooms. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Patrons swim in the Field House pool on Tuesday. The Field house renovation plans call for the removal of the pool in order to increase the amount of space available for workout rooms. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

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On Aug. 2, the state Board of Regents approved plans for renovations to the 90-year-old recreation facility.

In the proposal, the pool will be removed and replaced with three tiers of cardio and strength equipment. Locker rooms will be moved from the basement to the main floor and will be air-conditioned.

There will also be more group fitness rooms.

The plans for the renovations came about in response to a survey sent out to 5,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff members in October 2015, five years after the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center opened.

RELATED: UI ponders recreation

The results of the survey showed the top three fitness improvement priorities were fitness/cardio equipment, free weights, and indoor jogging and walking.

Since the last time the Field House was renovated, 1984, UI Recreational Services thought the Field House was due for an improvement, staff members told The Daily Iowan.

“We are trying to meet the needs of students and faculty by providing more fitness space,” said Chuck Thomas, the Recreational Services assistant director of facility operations. “We want to intercept the people who pass by [the Field House] to go to the [Rec Center].”

Recreational Services currently offers four fitness-center facilities on campus — the Rec Center and the Fitness East on the East Campus and the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex and the Field House on the West Campus.

RELATED: UI officials outline potential construction projects

The Field House, although located much closer to West Side residence halls, finds students consistently bypassing it to get to the Rec Center, said Recreational Services Senior Associate Director Brian Baxter.

He said the Field House renovations aim to make the space more convenient and attractive to better fit the needs of the students, staff, and faculty on the West Campus.

The only concern is the pool. Once closed, the Rec Center will house the only swimming facilities.

“It’s a very aged pool, and it’s becoming costly to maintain,” Baxter said. “People joke it’s held together with bubblegum and floss.”

The pool is home to practices for the Iowa Flyers, a swimming club operated by the Recreational Services. Officials have yet to determine how practices will be redistributed.

“I think it will force us to utilize the [Rec Center] more,” said Phillip Julson, Recreational Services associate director of aquatics. “There will be challenges in trying to find more space down here, but we’ll work it out.”

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