Iowa State Tackling Facilities Upkeep During Shutdown

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As construction of Iowa State University's new sports performance center outside Jack Trice Stadium continues, ISU athletics officials are taking full advantage of the coronavirus shutdown by tackling routine maintenance that otherwise might have been more challenging.

“Our facility staff is actually trying to get ahead of the game on a number of projects,” ISU senior associate athletic director for operations Chris Jorgensen told the Des Moines Register, “whether it’s repair and maintenance or preparing [Jack Trice Stadium] and Hilton Coliseum for next sports season.

“Given these times the facilities are vacant, it’s actually a very good time for us to get a lot of projects out of the way because we’re not as disruptive to the people that are in the buildings because they’re not here."

As reported by the Register, the Big 12 Conference has prohibited student-athlete activity at campus facilities through at least May 31 while there remain federal guidelines and state mandates about social distancing. “We’re working ahead and using this time wisely to prepare for when students are back and fans are back in our arenas,” Jorgensen said.

Projects range from painting to in-ground utility work, and incorporate areas of facilities that are not easy to address when occupied. 

"Any work that takes place in locker rooms or training rooms or weight rooms, we’re trying to get out of the way if the schedule permits," Jorgensen said. "Trying to use the time wisely while we do have empty buildings.”

Iowa State was the first institution in the country to announce across-the-board pay cuts in athletics to help compensate for lost revenue by events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic — namely, the Big 12 and NCAA basketball tournaments. “The 10 percent pay reduction has allowed us to at least give us a little bit of an operating cushion to continue with operations as normal,” Jorgensen said, “as opposed to I think other schools are really having to fine-tune their budgets in other areas if they can’t recapture the savings through payroll costs.

“I don’t think specifically what we’re doing is tied to that (payroll reduction), but overall it does assist in balancing the budget.”

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