In the past decade, budget reductions have created significant financial challenges campuswide. This year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Iowa State University venues that rely on funding from ticket sales, including the athletics department and Stephens Auditorium, have been especially hard hit. Since March, almost all programs at Stephens have been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.
In 1988, ISU began contracting with outside private firms to manage the Stephens Auditorium. This allowed ISU to reduce the cost of ongoing operations, while continuing to offer a wide variety of university and cultural events.
In 2019, the athletics department was placed in charge of management of the Iowa State Center as part of ongoing efforts to further reduce costs and also generate more attendance at events, by creating greater efficiency, productivity and innovation in university programs and services. The plans for a Multi-Use District is part of the innovative, future vision to expand opportunities for Stephens Auditorium. The proposed district may include a convention center, hotel, entertainment venues and more. That is the approach that will guide the university and athletics department in developing a way forward for Stephens Auditorium.
In response to the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic, the university and athletics department must continue to look for ways to reduce expenses, especially in the short run. However, both the university and the athletics department are committed to working together to develop a plan for how Stephens will operate into the future for the benefit of campus and the Ames community.