Upon request of the State of Iowa’s Board of Regents, the University of Northern Iowa engaged Johnson Consulting to perform a feasibility analysis for a planned 6,100-seat multipurpose arena for the Cedar Falls campus. UNI’s indoor athletic programs have been accommodated in the UNI-Dome and the West Gym, both of which were inadequate to host many intercollegiate sporting events, such as basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. In addition, the Cedar Valley was lacking a true mid-sized, multipurpose entertainment facility for concerts, family shows, trade and consumer shows, and other events.
The planned arena and existing 16,000-seat UNI-Dome (Events Complex) would be operated as one enterprise fund within the university system, and the Board of Regents has mandated that the Events Complex be financially self-sufficient. Johnson Consulting’s report analyzed the local and regional market for a new arena, characteristics of comparable facilities, and projected the future demand of the UNI-Dome and the planned arena. Based on the demand projections, Johnson Consulting forecasted future operating revenues and expenses of the Events Complex to document that the facilities could be self-supporting. Johnson Consulting also provided physical recommendations to the existing facility program in order to help generate increased revenues at the Events Complex.
Johnson Consulting’s report was submitted to the Board of Regents, and based on a recommendation by the Regents’ Banking Committee, the full Board approved the arena project and construction was initiated in April 2004.