Riverside-based gaming operator Elite Casino Resorts has announced a new investment in Iowa with a $1.5 million contribution towards the renewal of the University of Northern Iowa’s multi-purpose stadium. The company is contributing to the renovation of the UNI-Dome, in a project that is expected to ensure the facility is preserved for generations.
Dan Kehl, CEO of Elite Casino Resorts, said the gift, the second-largest to the UNI-Dome renovation project thus far, aligns with the family-owned company’s values of “giving back to uplift the future of the state of Iowa.”
“The UNI-Dome is such an iconic facility at such a great institution; it needs to be preserved,” Kehl said. “We hope that UNI continues to cultivate future leaders here in Iowa and that the students who attend the University of Northern Iowa stay here in Iowa to help Iowa prosper and grow.”
Elite’s investment supports a three-phased $50 million renovation of the UNI-Dome. The first phase of renovations includes replacing the UNI-Dome’s nearly 25-year-old fabric roof, reconstructing the west entrance and concourse, creating new and increased restrooms, and providing new and expanded suites.
Phase two of the project will include bowl upgrades, structural improvements, and indoor track resurfacing. The bowl improvements included are new seating, wider aisles, handrails, and greater ADA seating. The project’s final phase will include updates to the UNI-Dome sound system, marquee signage, and visual identity.
Phase one is estimated at $20 million, with over half of the goal already raised. Phase two is also estimated at $20 million, while phase three is estimated at $10 million.
David Harris, UNI Athletics Director, commented: “We are extremely grateful to Dan Kehl and Elite Casino Resorts for their lead investment in the UNI-Dome renovation project. Our plans for the Dome renovation continue to excite our donors and fans, and we are fortunate that Dan is helping us make these plans a reality.”
“The future of UNI Athletics is closely tied to the future of this campaign, and Dan is the kind of leader with the ability to understand how this contribution helps us create that future. We are indebted to him and our friends at Elite Casino Resorts for their belief in our vision,” he added.
In recognition of Elite’s gift, a premier space in the UNI-Dome will be named in the company’s honor. The company currently operates three casino resorts in Iowa, including Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, Rhythm City Casino Resort, and Grand Falls Casino Golf Resort.
The UNI-Dome renovation is a key initiative of the university’s Our Tomorrow comprehensive campaign and will be funded primarily with private support, the university notes. Multiple naming opportunities can be accessed through the UNI-Dome renovation website.