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The renovation of Kinnick Stadium will begin with a new playing surface for Iowa's football team.

Athletic director Gary Barta said Friday in a teleconference that the university will replace the FieldTurf at Kinnick in time for the 2017 season as part of the first phase of a three-year, $89.9 million remodeling. The FieldTurf was installed in 2009 and was due for an overhaul, and the building of a new north end zone seating structure provided the perfect opportunity, Barta said.

He estimated the cost at $500,000 to $1 million for the turf, but said no timeline has been established yet for when it will be in place. In question would be whether the Hawkeyes’ annual spring scrimmage that is open to the public would be able to be held at Kinnick in 2017.

As for the all-important question from many fans — will the new turf include a Tigerhawk logo at midfield? – Barta only had this to say:

“We haven’t decided yet.”

The north end zone project, scheduled to be complete by 2019, was approved by the Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday.

More details from Barta:

  • In the brainstorming stage, there were a couple of versions of the renovation that would have cost more than $100 million. “I made it clear that we couldn’t afford that,” Barta said he told the consulting architects and engineers. Those plans “fell on the drawing room floor,” Barta said, declining to say what was included in them. “I don’t think we had to sacrifice. I think we came up with a cool look that gave us everything we needed and wanted.”
  • The goal is to get $25 million of the financing from donors. Barta said there are “no signed pledge forms yet, just a lot of great conversations.” He said the feedback he’s received from fans so far has been “99 percent positive.” The university has launched a web site, KinnickEdge.org, aimed at answering questions and keeping fans up to date on the remodeling project.
  • Football coach Kirk Ferentz wasn’t involved in the daily meetings about the project, but did receive updates from time to time. “We talked about what makes Kinnick great, what would make Kinnick even better, beyond the fans,” said Barta, who described Ferentz as “involved and excited.”

The project will begin in the summer with underground infrastructure work and the turf replacement. When finished, it will leave Kinnick with a seating capacity of around 69,000, some 1,500 less than the current configuration.

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