Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You Think We're Working Fast...

How about our neighbor one block away? They are also renovating, their place is one year younger than ours, and to say that people are excited about it is one gigantic understatement. I am of course talking about the University of Iowa's work on Kinnick Stadium.

The renovations are a 90 million dollar project. Work started the night of the last home game. Currently crews are putting in 18 hour days as they have been nearly all summer. Work will stop for this season then start again in November. The old temporary type bleachers in the south endzone have been replaced by a totally new structure that acts as the entrance (rather than the original East and West sides, when built in 1929 the place had no end zone seating.)Here's how it will look:



The whole endzone section is what is completed now, and it matches the original brick structure beautifully. The really large gray thing looming over the stadium at the left are new luxury box seats and an expanded press box, that will be completed after this season. Also updated this year were the bathrooms, the first plumbing expansion since 1929. Kinnick had not added any more toilets in spite of nearly doubling in size over the years from it's original 40,000 capacity to 70,000. Another update receiving much attention is the visitor's locker room. When Hayden Fry came to coach in the 1970's he wanted to know what color had the greatest effect on making people feel passive. When he learned it was pink, he had the visitor's locker room painted that color. The new renovation carried that to an extreme with pink sinks and toilets.

I have pictures from Foxcroft, taken in the early 1930's that show Kinnick as the only thing visible on the horizon when looking south from the front porch. The stadium was built in a 5 month rush, and opened right when the stock market crashed. For it's 75th anniversary last fall, the team wore 1920's style jerseys and fans were given straw boater hats to wear. A great revival of tradition has also occurred: a passenger train now runs right to the stadium from a nearby mall, just like they used to when special cars came from Chicago and Des Moines. Lisa is considering trying to ride the train backwards and go to the mall during the game.

Here is a link to a web movie that compresses shots taken from a camera inside the stadium. The movie starts on Nov. 28 and ends on July 31:

http://www.artocentric.com/kinnick_reno.mov

To see the current shot from the webcam go here:

http://www.facilities.uiowa.edu/kinnickcam/kinnickcam.htm

I took the girls to an open practice last Saturday along with about 25,000 other Hawkeye fans. We had a great time. What will make the season even more exciting this year is that our neighbor's (and good friends) youngest son will be a freshman on the team. The first home game is Laurel's 4th birthday, Sept. 3rd.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Here is a link to more of that pink locker room:

http://www.hawkcentral.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=D5&Date=20050820&Category=HAWKS0104&ArtNo=820002&Ref=PH&Profile=1053&Params=Itemnr=1