“Our tailgating is about as good as gets around the country, so we know we have a good nucleus around our game day events, but at the same time, we have a performing arts center called the “Iowa State Center” in that same footprint. There’s an opportunity to bring that all together and create a destination that goes well beyond just game day.” – Jamie Pollard, Iowa State AD
Iowa State University will study the potential for remaking the land around its complex of performing arts, convention, and sports venues on the southeast edge of campus into an “arts, culture, and community district.” The study will be led by athletics director Jamie Pollard, whose department is also taking over management of the venues known as the “Iowa State Center.”
“It’s been a concept we’ve been working on for about two years,” Pollard tells CollegeAD. “It is a good time to go forward and it’s really driven by where our football program is right now, the success we’ve had, the excitement around it, and the desire we have in the community and within the institution to capitalize on this momentum.”
The land between Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum — which now provides nearby parking during games and for commuting students during the week — could be redeveloped with those parking spots moved to a new lot east of University Boulevard.
“The Iowa State Center is an incredible asset, and it is time to re-imagine the future of this complex in a way that continues to serve the university and greater Ames community,” ISU President Wendy Wintersteen said in the news release. “The athletic department has an extraordinary track record when it comes to creating a vision and bringing that vision to life. Jamie is a tremendous leader for Iowa State University and the Ames community and the right person to lead this transformation.”
The Iowa State Center was developed in the 1970’s, following a vision of former ISU President James H. Hilton. Pollard said the university hopes to use a mixed-use development district to generate funding to build “flat space” needed by the ISU and Ames communities.
“We are using athletics as a catalyst for a much bigger vision in the community,” explains Pollard. “We want to help attract companies and residents to live here. It’s a collaborative process that starts around the excitement of our football team and athletic programs.”
The firm Cushman & Wakefield will be a consultant for the study. The first phase of the study should take three months to complete and will be funded by the athletic department and the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau, according to the news release.
“What makes this project different from other multi-use complexes is number one: that it’s on a college campus. And number two: we own all the land, so we are not trying to buy out any landowners. It’s really reallocating land and thinking about the best uses,” says Pollard.
A working group for the multi-use development district includes Pollard, Sanders, Ames Mayor John Haila, former ISU senior vice president Warren Madden, ISU general counsel Mike Norton, ISU Foundation President & CEO Larissa Holtmyer Jones, Ames Convention and Visitors’ Bureau President & CEO Kevin Bourke, visitors’ bureau chairman Jim Baker and senior associate athletics director Chris Jorgensen.
This story first appeared in The NightCap, CollegeAD’s evening newsletter. The NightCap delivers the day’s college athletics news in simple bullet points, giving you what you need to know in just a few lines. Get The NightCap today.