Alex Halsted/Scout

South End Zone Becomes A Reality

Iowa State is ready to unveil the south end zone expansion nearly two years after Jamie Pollard received the go-ahead.

AMES, IOWA — Jamie Pollard walked into his office tucked away in the southeast corner of the Jacobsen Athletic Building on a cold Friday morning two years ago, the trajectory of his athletic department sitting in the inbox on his computer.

Two weeks prior in November 2013, Pollard had made a pitch after Iowa State’s Homecoming loss against TCU. Now, he sat at his computer on the morning of Nov. 15.

“Jamie, are you sitting down?” the email from Roy Reiman read. “If not, please sit down.”

Pollard kept reading.

“We’re going to do it,” Reiman wrote. “I’ll call you later with the details, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to hoot and holler and jump around first.”

Ten days later, as Iowa State entered the final week of the 2013 season, Pollard announced that, behind a $25 million gift from Roy and Bobbi Reiman, Iowa State would proceed with a project fans had dreamed about for years.

The Cyclones were bowling in the south end zone.

“That was a tremendous lead gift, the largest cash gift in the history of Iowa State University to any part of the institution, let alone athletics,” Pollard said Wednesday, standing inside the nearly-complete $60 million end zone club. “If it wasn’t for that lead gift we wouldn’t be standing here today. A lot of other people have stepped up along the way to be kind of pillars of the project, but it was that gift that made it reality.”

Pollard stood on the top level of the Sukup End Zone Club on Wednesday as the workers complete the final touches ahead of Iowa State’s Sept. 5 season-opener against Northern Iowa, which will debut the new expansion that brings capacity to 61,500.

Some workers pasted the final football murals to the walls in the Cardinal-and-Gold themed bar scene while others hurried to finish other final touches. Iowa State has already test-cooked meals and is ready for the 3,000 fans who will arrive in 10 days. 

The end zone as a whole, carries significance. 

“I just think it’s another major step in a continuum of success. You don’t change the history of a program overnight,” Pollard said of the football program. “We’ve talked about that. We all want to win and we all want to win today, but it's generational, especially in the sport of football. This is a major, major step in putting us in position to say, ‘We’ve got everything that everybody needs now to win.’”

And after all the emails and questions, Call-In Show questions and other feedback, Pollard and Iowa State have finally reached the end of a journey many years in the waiting. 

"I feel honored that I happen to be the AD that’s here when it’s happening, but this is far greater than any one person and any one set of individuals," Pollard said. "This is a dream and a vision that people have had for a long time about this place. It’s just really cool to be part of it happening."

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