Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said Friday the renovated Carver-Hawkeye Arena would go a long way in helping athletics at the university.
“There is no doubt our coaches and athletes will benefit,” she told a packed Feller Club Room of more than 400 people at the arena. “It has placed us on a level playing field in attracting top athletes.”
The remarks came at a dedication Friday afternoon for the new Dale and Marilyn Howard Family Pavilion at the 28-year-old Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Built for $43 million, including $21 million in donations to the athletic department, the four-story, 75,000-square-foot addition provides the Iowa athletic program two practice courts for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs, locker rooms, an 8,000-square-foot strength and conditioning center and offices for coaches and staff.
“This facility was much needed and will help in many ways,” said Matt Gatens, a senior on the men’s basketball team. “This facility will do wonders for our current athletes and myself. We don’t have to work around practice schedules as much.”
University President Sally Mason said the school strives for innovation in academics and athletics. She said much is expected of the Hawkeye athletic program, with updated facilities not considered luxuries but necessary for competing in modern athletics.
“They are part and parcel of what we’re asked to do,” she said. “We aspire to remain at the cutting edge and that includes athletics.”
After the dedication, which included a ceremonial ribbon cutting, fans streamed into the front concourse of the Howard Family Pavilion, named for Dale and Marilyn Howard, who contributed $3.5 million to the project in 2008. They were able to stroll through coaches’ offices, see the new practice courts and other areas.
Brian Vakulskas drove from Sioux City to be at the dedication. He said the new facility would help recruit players such as Adam Woodbury, a Sioux City native who announced Sept. 14 that he had committed to the Hawkeyes.
“I’m sure the facilities played a part,” Vakulskas said. “I think it’s a wonderful necessity they put in at the right time.”
Fans also could tour the new Dan Gable Wrestling Complex, where wrestlers were already at work.