Carver-Hawkeye Arena: The Home of the Hawkeyes
Named for the late Roy Carver, a long-time supporter of the University of Iowa, Carver-Hawkeye Arena, one of the 25 largest university-owned facilities in the nation, opened in January of 1983 and is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar facelift that is scheduled for completion in late summer 2011.
The Carver-Hawkeye Arena Addition and Renovation Project will include the construction of a practice facility immediately north of the Arena for use by the UI's men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball programs; renovation of the practice, fitness and weight-training facilities utilized by the UI's national championship wrestling program; renovation and expansion of other fitness and weight-training space in the Arena utilized by the majority of Iowa's 24 sports teams; the renovation and expansion of locker rooms in the facility; and the renovation of existing and the creation of new office, meeting, and storage space for use by administrative and coaching staff of the UI Athletics Department.
The addition of the practice facility will eliminate the need to have student-athletes in the sports of men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball practice and train at unusual or irregular times of day or at times which are typically reserved for classes. The flexibility created by the practice space will also positively impact the potential for use of the arena for other University and community-related events such as concerts.
The revitalization of the arena will also extend into spaces used by the general public on game days and nights, including renovation of select concessions and restroom facilities, and the creation of hospitality and meeting spaces combined with club facilities for fans of the Hawkeyes who choose to participate in a variety of premium seating options similar to that which are available in the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium.
"Today, more than 25 years after its construction, Carver-Hawkeye Arena remains a great facility for spectators. However, in order to remain competitive, some of the public spaces and many of the training and competition spaces need significant updating and enhancement. I greatly appreciate the Board's recognition of our needs and its confidence in our plan to address them," said Gary Barta, the UI's director of athletics, the day the renovation project received approval from the State Board of Regents.
"I am so grateful fans of the Hawkeyes recognize our need to be competitive and have been as supportive of this project today as they were when they were asked to support the original construction of Carver-Hawkeye Arena and, more recently, the renovation of Kinnick Stadium."
The Board also approved the financing plan submitted by the UI for the project. The plan was similar to that which was created for the renovation of historic Kinnick Stadium. It includes revenue generated from fund-raising specifically related to the project and bonding secured by revenues specifically related to the project.
The UI Athletics Department is currently working with the UI Foundation on a capital gift campaign that has a goal of generating $20 million in support of the project. The UI has already received more than $18 million in support of the project, including an initial multi-million dollar contribution from Dale and Marilyn Howard of Iowa Falls.
Funding for the project has allowed the UI Athletics Department to establish courtside and club seat programs comparable to the indoor and outdoor club seat program currently in operation inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium. The premium seating options will involve approximately 500 seats and has already proven popular with Hawkeye fans.
The UI Athletics Department has also implemented a priority seating program for the Arena similar to the program in place for grandstand seats at historic Kinnick Stadium. The Arena program currently calls for less than one-third (less than 4,500) of the 15,000 seats in the facility to be subject to a priority seat contribution.
"When Carver was built more than 25 years ago, Hawkeye fans were incredibly generous and those who made a contribution to the project were provided access to the best seats. When we renovated Kinnick Stadium, those who were most generous were provided the opportunity to lease premium seating opportunities in the new press box," Barta said.
"We have developed a funding model that is used across the country for virtually every project like this and particularly when the athletics department involved is asked to be 100-percent self-supporting. We will need help from all fans of the Hawkeyes and the response has already been terrific. With that said, fans sitting in two-thirds of the Arena will not be required to make a contribution or participate in the priority seating program."
Barta said the impact of this project will be felt across the spectrum of sports offered by the UI, by thousands of current and future student-athletes, and by hundreds of thousands of fans who will attend events in the Arena for many years to come.
"To say that our staff and coaches are excited or that our student-athletes are excited would be a tremendous understatement. We are making an important investment in one of the landmark buildings on our campus and the programs that it houses," he said.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been a very good home for the Hawkeyes competitively. Iowa has won 77 percent of its games in Carver and entered the 2010-11 season with a 340-103 record in the facility. Much the same can be said about women's basketball and wrestling. The UI's women's basketball team entered 2010-11 with a 297-87 record in games played in the Arena - a winning percentage of 77 percent - and the Iowa wrestling team entered 2010-11 with an all-time record of 169-18 (90 percent) in dual meets in Carver with 18 undefeated seasons.
The Arena cost $18,402,962 to build and was completed in three years. It was financed from private contributions from Iowa athletic department supporters. The first event (Jan. 3) in the Arena was a 1983 wrestling dual against Oklahoma on Jan. 3, 1985. The first basketball game was staged two days later and featured the UI men's basketball team entertaining Michigan State.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena has hosted the Big Ten and NCAA wrestling championships and Big Ten and NCAA regional and national gymnastics championships. The 1984 U.S. Olympic wrestling trials were held in Carver-Hawkeye and the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team also played an exhibition contest in the facility. The National Duals wrestling tournament was held in Carver-Hawkeye in 1998 and 1999. Iowa hosted the 1995 NCAA wrestling championships, in which the Hawkeyes won the national crown while setting tournament attendance records, and the 2001 NCAA finals.