Construction on Iowa's new wrestling facility expected to begin this June

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

The Iowa Board of Regents gave the Iowa wrestling program a thumbs up on Wednesday to proceed with the construction of its new training complex this spring.

Construction on the 38,500-square foot training center — which will be built on the south side of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, with a tunnel connecting the two facilities — is expected to begin this June.

"The facility is a very important piece of Iowa athletics' future, and we are doing it right," Iowa men's wrestling coach Tom Brands said in a release. "The support for Iowa wrestling is at an all-time high.

"Our fans are the best fans in the world. Our donors are the best donors in the world. They stepped up, and because of them, we have momentum for building the best training facility in the world."

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Two years ago, the program launched a Carver Circle campaign to help fund the $26.5 million facility. On Wednesday, Brands said the campaign, made up entirely by donations from Iowa wrestling fans, friends and alumni, recently surpassed $25 million from 225 donors.

The new facility will feature nearly twice as much training space as the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which has housed the program since the arena opened in 1983. The facility will also feature a street-level hall of champions that showcases the program's team and individual success stories.

"The Carver Circle campaign has shown the wrestling world just how dedicated and passionate Iowa wrestling fans are," Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said in the same release.

"We want our student-athletes to be successful in competition, in the classroom, and beyond, and this new facility — with support from so many wrestling fans, friends, and alumni — will honor past successes and allow our men's and women's wrestling teams to build on that championship tradition."

Previously:Leistikow: Thanks to grassroots support, Iowa nears approval for $20M wrestling facility

As Barta said, the facility will house both the men's and women's wrestling programs. Iowa is the first Division I Power Five school to add a women's wrestling program. Clarissa Chun was announced as the Hawkeyes' women's coach in November, and already, she's recruited six current high school seniors to join the program next fall.

The Iowa women's wrestling team won't officially compete until the 2023-24 season. But those who join the team next year will be able to redshirt and compete unattached, and take advantage of the new facility upon its completion.

"Iowa is the crown jewel of wrestling, and I can't wait to have a team assembled and practicing in a facility that matches the championship-caliber expectations that we have here at Iowa," Chun said in a release. "This facility will give our student-athletes all the tools they need to work for and earn titles at all levels."

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.