Hinkle Fieldhouse to undergo 'preservation'

Butler is basking in the glow of back-to-back national championship game appearances, and pretty soon the school's charming home arena will undergo a face lift.

But don't call the $25 million project a renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse. According to WTHR-TV, the school wants it to be known that it will be more of a preservation project of the facility that was constructed in 1928 and where "Hoosiers" was filmed.

"We will change Hinkle Fieldhouse over my dead body. We do not have a goal to change the fieldhouse," said Barry Collier, Butler University athletic director.

Except for repairing 800,0000 bricks and putting in new window frames, Butler will leave the outside appearance alone. Hinkle Fieldhouse is, after all, a National Historic landmark.

The arena will stay pretty much the same too. However, there will be more of the premium wider, comfortable seats. That would cut the seating capacity by about 1,500.

A new scoreboard is also on the wish list along with wider concourses, better ticket windows, new offices, new locker rooms, training facilities and public rest rooms.


"We want to preserve the fieldhouse. That's why we call this a preservation project, not a renovation project. We want to keep the memories alive that so many people have and make this building available for people for the next 80 years. To form new memories as well," Collier said.

The new seats are expected to cause capacity to be cut from 10,000 to about about 8,500, so it's fewer fans getting a lot more comfort.

According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the project is set to begin next summer assuming the $25 million can be raised.

The fundraiser, launched in April 2010, has netted $4.8 million in commitments during the "silent phase" targeting the university's traditionally larger donors. The campaign will be unveiled to the general public within the next six to nine months.

That the campaign started a year ago, during the men's basketball team's march to the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, was mere coincidence, said Mark Helmus, Butler's vice president for university advancement.

And now, with the Bulldogs making an unlikely repeat trip to the Final Four, the university's efforts to raise the money are getting an additional boost.