“It’s also the prestige of having this large tournament in Cedar Rapids,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett.
Its official: State Volleyball stays in Cedar Rapids. The city won’t charge the athletic union a dime to host the tourney. It’s a change due to the US Cellular Center’s construction plans.
This is the only spot Cedar Rapids had to offer the girl high school athletic union. Now the home of the Roughriders will be this year’s temporary home for the state volleyball tournament. It means dollars for the city and continuing a legacy.
“When we toured them here we had more solutions than questions,” said Ice Arena Executive Director Scott Shoenike.
Earlier this month, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union toured the Ice Arena as a possible temporary location for this year’s state volleyball tournament. But there was plenty of competition.
“You’re always hopefully, but you wait on pens and needles as the board makes their official decision,” said Corbett.
Ice Arena Executive Director Scott Shoenike was confident this was the union’s best option.
“Free parking right along the building for the patrons,” said Shoenike, “The locker rooms are far better than the US Cellular Center.”
And so was the price tag. Rent at the Cellular Center was $27,500. Rent for the Ice Arena: nothing.
“The ripple effect, people spending their dollars in Cedar Rapids is important. It’s also the prestige of having this large tournament in Cedar Rapids,” said Shoenike.
$1.8 million right back to the city in tourism revenue. Keeping the tourney here means better chances for a long term contract with the athletic union.
“We have a great facility on a temporary basis at the ice arena and we’re going to have a fantastic facility once the events center is done,” said Corbett.
Essentially, the city broke its contract with the union when they scheduled renovations at the US Cellular Center. No promises from the athletic union that they’ll be back at the US Cellular Center in 2012.
CEDAR RAPIDS — They’ll be setting and spiking at The Stable, and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will be saving thousands of dollars.
The IGHSAU Board of Directors voted Wednesday morning to place the 2011 state volleyball tournament at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. The Tyson Events Center in Sioux City was the other finalist.
The Board picked the Ice Arena with one dissenting vote.
“I really think the girls might actually have a better experience at the Ice Arena, even more so (than the U.S. Cellular Center),” said Scott Schoenike, the executive director of both. “Who wouldn’t want to play in front of a packed house?
“Everybody loves a sold-out show.”
Cedar Rapids Kennedy athletics director Aaron Stecker was at a Mississippi Valley Conference meeting Wednesday when he heard the news.
“That’s great for our kids and our city,” he said. “After (IGHSAU officials toured the Ice Arena on Jan. 3), I really didn’t have a feel for how they were going to go. I know (IGHSAU executive director) Mike Dick seemed very positive, but you never know.”
With 3,800 permanent seats, the Ice Arena is a little more than half in size of the U.S. Cellular Center, which will be unavailable for the tournament Nov. 9-12 due to renovations.
In an effort to soothe the breach of contract and keep the tournament in Cedar Rapids, Schoenike offered the Ice Arena and waived the entire $27,500 rent the IGHSAU would have paid had the tournament been played downtown.
Tyson hosts the NAIA national tournament and boasts a capacity of about 6,000, but Sioux City is even less centralized than Cedar Rapids. (For you mapquest.com fans: it is 204 miles from State Center to Sioux City, 87 miles from State Center to Cedar Rapids.)
Since IGHSAU officials toured the Ice Arena, Schoenike and his staff have been running through potential problems and solutions.
“There are a lot of things to think through,” he said. “Like, how will we rotate locker rooms?”
One big non-problem is parking. There are thousands of free spots in the area around the Ice Arena, Kingston Stadium and Veterans Stadium.
The U.S. Cellular Center, which began hosting the tournament in 1991, should be available again in time for the 2012 tournament. The contract between the U.S. Cellular Center and the Union runs through 2015.
“This is huge,” Stecker said. “It’s a really good sign that the contact can be extended beyond 2015.”