Butler plans major preservation project for Hinkle Fieldhouse
Indianapolis - Butler University is counting on the success of its basketball team to help pay for a makeover of Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The school is planning the biggest project ever envisioned for the 80-year-old land mark, but not much will be changed.
"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.
Butler folks quickly insist the $25 million project is a preservation effort, not a renovation.
"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.
Butler administrators say the very recent memories of the Bulldogs two trips to the NCAA Championships in two years, are already helping in the very early stages of the fund raising effort.
"It has stirred the emotions of folks and brought about a rekindling of an association that many have. Not just Butler folks, but people who have been in this fieldhouse, or maybe a relative that served and maybe was housed here in the military in World War Two. So all of the Butler folks, but beyond that Indiana folks and even beyond that from a historical preservation standpoint, this is a nation treasure we hold very dear here," Collier added.
So far major donors have given about $5 million.
Butler plans to set a fund raising goal and take the preservation campaign public as early as November.