Construction is expected to start this spring on a new outdoor practice football facility at the University of Northern Iowa.

On Monday, UNI Athletic officials announced a $2 million gift that will finance the project. Doug and Ann Goschke of Port St. Lucie, Fla. made the gift in honor of Doug's late sister, Junean Goschke, a 1966 alumna of State College of Iowa (now UNI).

With the donation, UNI plans to build an outdoor artificial turf football field.

"Doug and Ann's extraordinary gift will have a tremendous impact on UNI football," UNI Coach Mark Farley said in a press release. "The key to the development of a team is through the ability to practice and prepare in a safe and competitive environment. This new field will allow future Panthers to prepare through all weather conditions on a surface that is safe and usable late into the fall as well as early spring."

UNI athletic officials said the outdoor facility will relieve the strain of scheduling conflicts currently experience in the UNI-Dome. They currently have to coordinate the schedules of football, track and softball practices around revenue-generating events like the high school football championships, sports shows and concerts.

David Harris, UNI Director of Athletics, said the new facility will provide another practice space and create more opportunities for other teams to share the UNI-Dome field.

"Doug and Ann's gift will help our football program prepare to compete at a championship level," he said. "Over the next several years, our plan is to continue to provide our sports programs the resources necessary to achieve unprecedented success as outlined in our strategic plan.

Plans for the outdoor practice facility are being finalized. The upgrade to artificial turf is an initiative within Panthers Rising, a strategic plan to achieve unprecedented success for UNI student-athletes.

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