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Update: Iowa wrestling facility plan

Six months ago, University of Iowa first started discussing construction of a new wrestling facility for the famed Hawkeye wrestling program adjacent to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Much progress has been since the initial plans were first presented in late January to build a 37,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This past week, Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands said, "We're moving forward, still working to raise money and we've taken a big step forward with the hiring of an architect. People are working hard to make this happen."

The project is expected to carry a price tag of around $20 million and will be funded entirely through private donations.

According to Brands, at this point, Iowa has raised "just north of $10 million'' to help pay for the project.

"We're having some great conversations with people right now as well, so we're encouraged,'' Brands said.

Iowa received approval for the project from the state Board of Regents on Feb. 5 to plan a state-of-the-art training facility that will be built south of Carver-Hawkeye Arena and connected to the arena's competition floor by a tunnel.

In addition to expanded training space, the facility will feature a "hall of champions'' that will showcase the history of the Hawkeye program, including its 23 NCAA team champions, 36 Big Ten team titles, 84 NCAA individual titles and its 345 All-American wrestlers.

The space is being designed to allow Iowa to continue to host top senior level and international wrestling events such as the United States Olympic Trials and the United World Wrestling Cup.

"We want to have the best facility in the world in Iowa City,'' Brands said. "If we wanted, we could have spent $7 million, $8 million on something for Hawkeye wrestling out west (near Iowa's soccer, tennis and field hockey facilities) and be in it right now, but with the tradition of this program, Carver-Hawkeye is where we need to be.''

Brands said the facility will be designed mainly with practicality in mind, set up to facilitate the development and growth of the wrestlers who train there.

He also hopes to create an environment that will appeal to today's generation of competitors and believes the facility can become a recruiting tool for a program which finished the 2019-20 season ranked first in the nation.

"We're after functionality, good workspace for people to train in,'' Brands said. "We're out to put the best facility in the world in Iowa City.''

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