Pollard on Hilton
"We're going to expand the concourses. That will allow us to add concessions and add merchandise areas. It will also allow us to add 20 suites, 10 on each side. We will completely overhaul the infrastructure. That building has basically been left alone for 35 years and has a lot of deferred maintenance."
The new Hilton...Click Below!
"Then we will go back to Jack Trice and work on bowling in the end zone. Bowling in the end zone will include making the concourse go from one side to another. We want to connect it so somebody can go from one side of the stadium to the other. It will also allow us to add restrooms and concession stands inside the stadium."
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"Then, long term the approach would be to look at building the atrium and the office complex over Hilton. In addition, we'd work with the student body on a student recreation center. I think that the jewel in all of this if we can get to it is what we call the Gateway Athletic Complex. That's taking Elwood Drive and really making it the front door to campus by taking the land across the stadium from Elwood and making that the Gateway Athletic Complex which would include softball, perhaps a baseball stadium, an indoor track stadium and tennis courts."
Q: Was this something that you started in on right after you took the job? Were you looking around here thinking that this is something that has to be done?
Pollard: "Well I knew during the
recruitment and interview process that facilities were a major concern for the
Q: Obviously this is going to be a big benefit for the fans, but will this also help with recruiting for the actual athletes?
Pollard: "Definitely. I'm not holding anything back when I say this, but when you watch an extra point or a field goal kicked into the south end zone, it has a less than big time atmosphere. By bowling in the end zone we will change that. A lot of times high school student athletes see that whether it's on ESPN or their local TV stations. That environment will change. It will also help recruiting because by changing that atmosphere, we will have more people who will be in here or will want to be in here, which will help create a better environment. That will make it more fun for the players."
Q: Do you think that by making these improvements to both facilities, that will bring people to them because they want to see the improvements?
Pollard: "A big part of either professional or collegiate sports is the fan experience. There's not much as an administrator that I can do directly once the ball is kicked off, but there is a lot that I can do pre-game and post-game and enhance the fan environment. That's what we need to do. That's one of the reasons why we moved the games to night this year. We want our fans to come on a Saturday and spend all day tailgating, be with their friends, be with their family and come out to cheer for the Cyclones. But then, we want them to go home thinking, ‘I had a blast today.' That's what all of this is about."
Q: How big of a challenge is this financially?
Pollard: "Well, it's a big one because if it wasn't, somebody would have already done it. I don't look at it as a risky proposition; I look at it as we have to do it, plain and simple. We have to do it, so we have to find a way to do it. That's not simple, but we've got to stay focused and commit everything that we have to get it done."
Q: What kind of timetable, years wise are we talking?
Pollard: "If everything goes as planned, we would hope to have us the suites in Jack Trice ready to go and revamped by the fall of 2008. Then to have the basketball and volleyball practice facility built and ready to go by the fall of 2009. We would have the Hilton suites and concourses and that part of the project done by the fall of 2010. We would also have the end zone bowled in by the fall of 2010. That's an aggressive timeframe and it's going to require the fundraising to happen but that's our target and that's what we're shooting for."
Q: Will the majority of all this happen at the same time or will it be staged?
Pollard: "It will be a challenge to stage it between the two seasons. The practice facility, with the funding in place would be a little bit easier because it's a new facility and somewhat detached from Hilton. The construction of Hilton is a little more complicated because what we have to do there will have to be staged around several seasons. There is an outside chance that we could get that done by the fall of 2009, but it's probably more realistic to say 2010."
Q: Back to the financing, you're relying on donations, ticket sales and what else?
Pollard: "For this to happen, it's going to come 100% from our fan base. The state isn't in a position to contribute funds to it, the university isn't in a position to contribute, so I look at this and say what I've said all along; this isn't Jamie Pollard or President Geoffrey or Dan McCarney or Greg McDermott's program. It's our fans program. If we truly want to do this then this is the time to step up. It's going to come from fundraising. It's going to come from suites and club seats. It will all go together, but the one thing that is really encouraging to me is that there's a grassroots element to this. There are 175,000 living alums. If one out of every 10 join the Cyclone Club at the minimum level of $100, we could finance $30 million of construction. In 1992, Texas A&M did that. They went from 6,000 donors to 25,000 donors in six years. We're at 6,000 today. There's no reason that we can't do that also.
Q: Is it possible that there could be a corporate sponsorship on anything?
Pollard: "Well we won't be taking Jack Trice off of the football or Hilton off of the basketball arena. There are other opportunities. There are the club sections, the field, the court, the practice facilities, the atrium, there are many opportunities."
Q: When would you like to see construction get started?
Pollard: "Well if we stay on task and want to get things going by 2008, we would have to begin breaking ground here in 2007 at the latest. It couldn't be a better time to be a Cyclone.
To view all of the pictures of the new plans, click on the link below!