Athletic complex location undergoes community members’ debate

Vice President of Business and Finance Warren Madden

Vice President of Business and Finance Warren Madden

Jake Lovett

With Board of Regents’ approval in October, the ISU athletic department began planning a new sports complex to house the ISU softball, soccer and track and field teams.

The Cyclone Sports Complex comes as a replacement to the Southwest Athletic Complex — home to the ISU softball team since 1980 — and the ISU Soccer Complex, which lies in a flood plain east of Lied Recreation Athletic Center.

The location of the new facility — east of the Towers residence halls — has been the cause of unrest in the communities along Storm Street and Ash Avenue.

“There really aren’t any other open areas close enough to the core campus,” said Vice President of Business and Finance Warren Madden.

Madden said the university considered other farm land, but determined it was too far from the ISU campus to be “practical.”

Another location suggested by some community members, and one that Madden said the university did consider, is the site of the Southwest Athletic Complex on the corner of Knapp Street and Hayward Avenue.

However, Madden said the cost of redeveloping the site into this kind of complex would cost an additional $2.5–3 million more than the proposed $10.7 million price tag.

A combination of the site’s topography, a desire to add street access and relocation of storage facilities complicates its development. Also, Capp Timm Field, the former home of the ISU baseball program and the current home of the ISU baseball club, would be lost in the development — something clubs and ISU recreation services did not want to see happen.

“It’s a combination of cost and accommodating the programs, both for the intercollegiate athletic plan and for the sports clubs and recreation services,” Madden said.

While the green space to the east of Maple-Willow-Larch halls could have been considered, the flooding in that area is a major deterrent, and one of the main reasons the ISU Soccer Complex is being replaced.

The most recent plans, released Tuesday by the university, have shifted the design more to the south, away from the neighborhoods along Storm Street.

The shift also created more green space closer to the Towers than the original plans, available for club, intramural or recreation activity.

“We end up with more playing areas for both recreation and sports clubs as well as the intercollegiate athletic programs with this plan that we’re proposing,” Madden said.

Madden said that some community members would like to see nothing happen on the site east of the Towers, but that option is one the university did not see as an acceptable alternative.

A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Knapp-Storms Dining Center for community members to address further concerns with the facility’s revised plans.

“We think this particular plan is a reasonable plan and has addressed a number of concerns that were raised,” Madden said. “It doesn’t address the concern of those that don’t want anything to happen on that site. We can’t overcome that concern.”