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UNI secures another big donation of $1.5 million toward renovation of athletic dome

CEDAR FALLS - A Riverside-based gaming operator has joined the campaign to renew an iconic UNI landmark for the next generation with a $1.5 million investment.

CEDAR FALLS – A Riverside-based gaming operator has joined the campaign to renew an iconic UNI landmark for the next generation with a $1.5 million investment.

Dan Kehl, CEO of Elite Casino Resorts, said the gift, the second-largest to the UNI-Dome renovation project thus far, aligns with the family-owned company’s values of giving back to uplift the future of the state of Iowa.

“The UNI-Dome is such an iconic facility at such a great institution, it needs to be preserved,” Kehl said. “Our hope is that UNI continues to cultivate future leaders here in the state of Iowa and that the students who attend the University of Northern Iowa stay here in the state of Iowa to help Iowa prosper and grow.”

UNI Dome, home of UNI Panther football

“We are extremely grateful to Dan Kehl and Elite Casino Resorts for the lead investment they are making in the UNI-Dome renovation project,” said UNI Athletics Director David Harris. “Our plans for the Dome renovation continue to excite our donors and fans and we are fortunate that Dan is helping us make these plans a reality. The future of UNI Athletics is closely tied to the future of this campaign, and Dan is the kind of leader with the ability to understand how this contribution helps us create that future. We are indebted to him and our friends at Elite Casino Resorts for their belief in our vision,” Harris said.

The contribution to the UNI-Dome renovation adds to Elite Casino Resorts’ philanthropic support of athletics programs, law enforcement agencies and local nonprofits in the state of Iowa. The company operates three casino resorts in Iowa including Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, Rhythm City Casino Resort and Grand Falls Casino Golf Resort.

In recognition of Elite’s gift, a premier space in the UNI-Dome will be named in the company’s honor.

Elite’s investment supports a three-phased $50 million renovation of the UNI-Dome. Included in the first phase of renovations is replacing the UNI-Dome’s nearly 25-year-old fabric roof, reconstructing the west entrance and concourse, creating new and increased restrooms, and providing new and expanded suites.

Phase two 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 final phase of the project will include updates to the UNI-Dome sound system, marquee signage and visual identity.

Phase one is estimated at $20 million with over half of the goal already raised. Phase two is also estimated at $20 million while phase three is estimated at $10 million. The UNI-Dome renovation is a key initiative of the university’s Our Tomorrow comprehensive campaign and will be funded primarily with private support. Multiple naming opportunities are available and can be accessed through the UNI-Dome renovation website, unidomerenovation.com.

Donations to the project are tax-deductible through the UNI Foundation and can be made as a multi-year pledge.

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