Gerdin Fieldhouse renovation begins this summer

The Gerdin Fieldhouse for Athletics and Wellness renovation project is set to begin this summer at Luther College, and a new potential phase was revealed this week.

With approvals in place from the Board of Regents to begin the construction renovation, President Jenifer K. Ward and Athletic Director Renae Hartl provided a video-taped update to the college, and revealed the potential for a wrestling training space addition along with starting dates for the project.

“As we approached the Board of Regents for approval of the final plans, we took the opportunity to think bigger,” Ward said. “Shifting the main entry has inspired a new design, we were able to imagine a four-mat training space in place of the old south entrance circle. The board agreed that with the level of changes set for the old Regents Center, now is the time for Luther to propose a wrestling addition.”

In the original master planning from 2015, a three-mat training space near the aquatic center and the north gym was suggested. The new concept locates the four-mat space beside the Robert and Ann Naslund Sports and Recreation Center and adjacent to Carlson Stadium.

“This is a game-changer for one of Luther’s top programs,” Hartl said. “Not only will it be huge for wrestling, it is going to transform the circle drive into a new outdoor plaza area for all of our outdoor venues and events and an additional gathering space for campus.”

Fundraising for the proposed wrestling addition is now underway.

“The design-build team is working on potential plans, and we are excited to invite our alumni and friends to bring this project to reality, especially those in the wrestling community,” Ward said.

Ward and Hartl also revealed the new architect renderings of the future main entrance. The opening three phases of work are set for mid-summer, with the reconstruction of the current north lobby into the primary entrance for the facility as the opening phase along with renovating the visiting locker rooms.

“The renovation construction is set to begin in late July or early August, and we will be starting with the new North Lobby entrance,” Ward said.

Along with a new concession stand and new bathroom facilities, the expanded lobby will salute the spirit of all 21 Luther varsity teams and will provide a new home for the current Hall of Fame.

“We’ve got great excitement about this project among all our teams, but also for the entire campus, Decorah and all of northeast Iowa,” Hartl said. “The new entrance will make coming to all events easier. We cannot wait to start this renovation.”

The second phase of work will renovate numerous team locker rooms and other athletic department support areas. This phase is expected to begin during the late fall of 2024.

Due to supply chain difficulties related to the new air conditioning for the main competition area, the conversion of the current gym into an arena configuration, including Birkestrand Family Court, will begin immediately at the conclusion of the 2024-25 basketball seasons.

“Knowing the arena will begin next spring, we look forward to the last competition seasons in the gym for volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, and wrestling,” Hartl said. “We will begin working this summer to plan special events and celebratory matches and games for this fall and winter.”

Leadership gifts made in 2023-24 have given the renovation campaign significant momentum heading into 2024-25, Vice President for Development Mary Duvall noted.
“As we surpass 60% of our newly-expanded fundraising goal and strive for full funding by the end of 2025, we invite additional investment from alumni and friends who wish to partner with Luther in this transformative facilities renovation,” Duvall said.

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