Sports Performance Center Gridiron Story

James Powell

Iowa State athletics has been having a wail of a year. Their football team appeared in their first Big 12 Championship. Their women’s basketball team won a game in the NCAA tournament. They have an NCAA wrestling champion walking around on campus in David Carr. Soon, he’ll be walking into a brand new facility with views of campus, and, of course, Jack Trice Stadium.

The Sports Performance Center is soon to be the Athletic Department’s pride and joy. In some ways, it already is. With fall of 2021 expecting a packed football stadium, and more people invested in Iowa State athletics than seemingly ever, it’s a perfect time for the $90 million dollar project to be used to its full potential.

Chris Jorgensen, Senior Associate AD/Operations at Iowa State, understands that the built up excitement that will be unleashed in the fall helped this process more than it hurt.

“Given the excitement in the spectator sports that we have… it helps us immensely in getting projects like this built”

Some of the features included are a new football locker room, a student-athlete academics center, and enough dining areas to feed a small village. Previews and sneak-peek pictures have been floating around for months, and the athletic department is ecstatic to be able to show it off.

While every sport will certainly be impacted and wowed by this new building, it’s clear that the football team will benefit the most. With a new locker room, player’s lounge, and nutrition center, the Sports Performance Center dedicates a majority of the first two floors of the building to a Cyclone Football team that had a record season, and will look to build off of that in 2021-22.

Like most anything that has been built since the pandemic kicked into high gear, the construction and timeline of this project was thrown off, and impacted by the logistical issues that came about. 

“We’ll never be able to really put a number on it, I think every aspect of the project has had challenges that were presented because of COVID,” said Jergensen when asked about how the pandemic impacted the performance center’s timeline.

Without a doubt, there were problems that the athletic department surely encountered while getting this building ready for visitors and student-athletes. However, one could argue it’s the perfect time for the athletes to be welcomed into it.

The student body will have all the anticipation and excitement that Ames could handle after an Iowa State sports season that saw very few fans, and many banner seasons throughout the department.

Adequately coined the “Sports Performance Center”, performance on the field or on the court will be just as paramount as performance in the classroom. From the very start of this project, it was clear that the goal is to provide the best experience possible for student-athletes  on game days, and also in the offseason.

It has been clear from the start that the department wants to use the growth and success of many sports programs to, in turn, develop a strong tradition and environment of academic prowess at Iowa State.

There will also be many improvements to the area surrounding the Bergstrom Football Complex, namely the North Endzone Plaza. Renderings and a virtual tour can be found on the building’s website. There’s even a live camera with a view of what the building looks like at that moment.

It goes without saying that the buildup to another year of Cyclone sports has felt longer than normal. The facelift that the area surrounding MidAmerican Energy Field received will surely draw many Cyclone faithful eyes, and will be enjoyed by all athletes that chose to call Ames, Iowa home.