UI asking Iowa regents to expand Hawkeye wrestling space

The UI is seeking the state Board of Regents’ permission to build a structure that would provide additional workout facilities, training areas, and locker rooms.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s Alex Marinelli prepares to wrestle during a wrestling dual meet between No. 1 Iowa and No. 4 Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 24-10.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

The University of Iowa is asking the state Board of Regents for permission to proceed with project planning to expand the practice and operations facility for the 23-time NCAA Champion and current top-ranked Hawkeye wrestling program.

This $17 million to $20 million proposed project, unveiled Tuesday in regents’ documents, would build a new 37,000 square-foot, two-level wrestling practice and operations facility south of Carver-Hawkeye Arena and connected to the arena by tunnel.

To date, the project — funded by Athletics Department gifts — has received more than $9 million in gift commitments. Iowa Athletics is a self-sustaining unit, supported separately from the university general fund.

The structure would provide additional workout facilities, training areas, locker rooms, office space, and direct access into Carver. It will also include a Hall of Champions that showcases the program’s history — including 23 NCAA team titles, 35 Big Ten Conference team titles, and 335 All-America honors.

“The Iowa wrestling program has a legendary history and we are committed to continuing its momentum,” Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said. “This facility will have a significant impact on our wrestling program and Athletics Department. We truly thank the contributors who have already stepped forward with leadership commitments, as this project will be funded entirely by private support. With permission to proceed from the Board of Regents, we will be begin the planning and designing the building.”

This expansion would also allow the university to continue its tradition of hosting the world’s top senior level and international wrestling events, including the U.S. Olympic Trials and the United World Wrestling Cup.

Iowa wrestling will continue to wrestle at Carver under this proposal.

The Hawkeyes have wrestled and trained at Carver since it opened in 1983. Since then, the arena has been used by Iowa’s major indoor sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling.

This shared facility is at capacity, forcing each sport to compete for space and court time. A $47 million, 131,000-square foot expansion of Carver was completed in 2011. The project included a practice facility immediately north of the arena that is now used by the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball team.

The renovation also included an expansion of other fitness and weight-training space, as well as the creation of new office, meeting, and storage space for use by administration and coaching staffs.

The space wrestling occupies in Carver includes wrestling training rooms and the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex, featuring three mats, a locker room, sauna, weightlifting facilities, and retractable bleachers. An expansion would provide more space for wrestling conditioning, training, locker rooms, and meetings.

“This is an important step forward for the Iowa wrestling program,” Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands said. “We put constant thought and evaluation into everything we do, and we do it with great energy to make sure we are operating at the highest level. We are thankful that we are able to continue moving forward.