When the UNI spring football season begins in February, a major construction project will be underway inside the UNI-Dome.

UNI athletic officials Thursday morning announced plans to build a new football meeting room in the northeast corner of the facility. It will be connected to the north end zone offices.

Construction on the $2 million project is slated to begin this winter, with completion expected in the fall of 2021. Project costs are being funded by private donations.

The new space will feature theatre-style seating, a room partition to create two separate spaces for concurrent use, two digital presentation and projection systems, televisions, audio system, sliding glass windows, and privacy screens. The room will be used by the UNI football team as a central meeting location.

"The quality of our facilities is central to a quality football program," head coach Mark Farley said. "It impacts how we practice, how we compete, how we attract recruits, how we teach and how we represent our University."

According to UNI athletics officials, the multi-functional room will serve other important purposes such as study space, classroom and as a departmental meeting space. In addition, the space will be used for game-day suites as a revenue generator for the department.

The idea and need for the space was identified in 2015 and active fundraising for the room started in 2017. The Van G. Miller Family Charitable Foundation provided a major grant for the project. Because of the generous gift, the new space will be called the Van G. Miller Family Charitable Foundation Meeting Room.

"Van Miller was a tremendous supporter of UNI Panther Athletics and this grant continues the partnership we have shared through the years," UNI Director of Athletics David Harris said. "Being able to have a designated room for our football team to meet as a full team has been a priority for us. This grant allows for that opportunity to be fulfilled, while also opening up another chance to enhance our game-day fan experience. We are very grateful to the many donors that contributed to this project."

The football team meeting room project is phase one of the UNI-Dome renovation plan, UNI athletic officials said. They plan to release the more details for the UNI-Dome renovation at a later date.

The football team meeting room project is part of Panthers Rising, a strategic plan to achieve unprecedented success.

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