CEDAR FALLS – Coinciding with the launch of the university’s boldest and most ambitious fundraising campaign, UNI Athletics begins their part of the Our Tomorrow campaign focusing on renovations and updates to the UNI-Dome.
The UNI-Dome has been an iconic UNI landmark, a pillar in the community, and the home of UNI Athletics since its opening in 1976. As the facility approaches its 50th anniversary in 2026, UNI Athletics is launching a visionary campaign to keep the UNI-Dome thriving for the next generation.
“For nearly 50 years the UNI-Dome has been a key asset to this community, bringing us together for athletics, concerts and countless other events,” said UNI Director of Athletics David Harris. “The facility is a vital part of the economic strength of the Cedar Valley and State of Iowa, and we know its value to the community will only grow through these investments.”
An estimated 500,000 visitors each year come through the doors of UNI-Dome, with more than 200,000 of those being from outside of Black Hawk County. It is estimated the UNI-Dome generates $17 million annually in economic impact to the Cedar Valley.
In nearly 50 years of increasing demands and usage, the UNI-Dome has seen occasional updates and improvements, but never the kind of comprehensive renewal envisioned as part of the Our Tomorrow campaign. UNI Athletics plans to renovate and renew the UNI-Dome with a three phase, $50 million campaign starting this fall. The first phase of the project has already begun with the construction and opening of the Van G. Miller Family Charitable Foundation Meeting Room. Also included in the first phase of renovations is replacing the UNI-Dome’s fabric roof, reconstructing the west entrance and concourse, and providing new and expanded suites.
The current fabric roof is slated to be replaced in the summer of 2023 with a newer and more durable fabric to withstand cold winters and humid summers. The current fabric roof is almost 25 years old and the end of its lifespan. The reconstruction of the west side will provide a new, modern central entrance for visitors. The new west side entrance will provide one main entrance with several doors for fans to go through and solve congestion issues. The entrance will also include a ticketing office to serve walk-up patrons right in front of the building.
The new west entrance also includes the expansion of the west entrance concourse to allow for easier traffic flow during events. The relocation and expansion of restrooms will provide patrons with new and increased facilities. A new expanded suites level will create a premium fan experience and bring in more revenue to support Panther Athletics and sustain UNI-Dome operations. Additionally, a new elevator will give fans access to the premium suites area. The timeline for the rest of Phase 1 of construction will be determined as funding is secured.
Phase 2 of the project will include bowl upgrades and structural improvements along with resurfacing the indoor track. Among the bowl improvements included are new seating, wider aisles, handrails and greater ADA seating. The bowl improvements will allow for greater accessibility and better comfort while giving the UNI-Dome a cohesive look among seating areas. New lighting will provide better visibility and energy efficiency throughout the frequent use of the UNI-Dome.
The new track will provide a championship level surface for competition while allowing UNI to continue to host the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships and many nonathletic events in the UNI-Dome.
The final phase of the project will include updates to the UNI-Dome sound system and visual identity. Phase 3 will replace the current sound system to give the space crystal clear audio quality. The phase will also include updated graphics inside and outside the building to create the most exciting game day experience possible and further the UNI Athletics brand recognition. A marquee sign will be installed to show the public what current and future events are taking place in the UNI-Dome.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $50 million: Phase 1 is estimated at $20 million with over half already raised. Phase 2 is also estimated at $20 million while Phase 3 is estimated at $10 million.
The UNI-Dome renovation will be funded primarily with private support. Multiple naming opportunities are available and can be accessed through the campaign website here.
Donations to the project are tax-deductible through the UNI Foundation and can be made as a multi-year pledge.