UNI Army ROTC finds a new home in Nielsen Fieldhouse

After years of anticipation, the cadets and cadre of the University of Northern Iowa Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Panther Battalion returned to campus this fall to a new, innovative facility.

A planned upgrade to the Nielsen Fieldhouse, formerly connected to the Malcolm Price Laboratory School, was expanded to provide space for the growing program and Department of Military Science. The renovation, supported by a $2.7 million budget from the Iowa Board of Regents, includes new offices, classrooms, lounge and meeting spaces for the department. The old gymnasium has also been transformed, including ample space for socially-distanced physical training as well as an impressive, fully equipped new weight room dedicated to ROTC.

The space comes at a fortuitous time, as the Army launches its new physical training regime. Starting in October 2020, all soldiers are now required to pass the Army Combat Fitness Test, which replaces the Army Physical Fitness Test. The new test assesses soldiers’ ability to perform physical tasks more inline to what they might encounter in combat conditions: the strength deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release pushups, sprint/drag/carry, leg tucks and 2-mile run.

Along with the improved space for physical training, the fieldhouse also provides military science with spacious, state-of-the-art classrooms and meeting spaces that actively encourage collaboration. The lounge area offers a great opportunity for cadets to get to know each other and socialize in a more relaxed setting, outside of training.

Future plans include the development of a ‘call for fire’ training room, where cadets will learn virtually how to call in artillery fire on an enemy. The room will be outfitted with an abundance of military technology and be the first of its kind for an ROTC battalion.


ROTC members work out in Nielsen Fieldhouse