Iowa's indoor practice facility was constructed in 1985 during the height of the Hayden Fry era. It seemed state-of-the-art at the time because the field was enclosed by a fiberglass fabric roof. The roof was supported by air pressure, much like the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
But last Friday, the bubble was deflated, ending the facility's 27-year run. Iowa, which had fallen behind in the facilities arms race, will open a 76,000-square foot brick and mortar building in time for fall practice.
Iowa's new practice digs seem modest compared to recently completed facilities of Hawkeye rivals. Michigan, for example, completed work on a 104,000-plus square foot brick and mortar building in 2009 that is called the "Taj Mahal" of indoor facilities. Iowa State has a 92,000-square foot building and Nebraska's playpen is 81,200-square feet.