Indiana Ice to take over skating rinks at Pan Am Plaza


The skating rinks at Pan Am Plaza won't be shutting down after all.

Two days after the Indiana World Skating Academy announced that it was suspending skating operations at Pan Am Plaza amid a funding shortfall, the Indiana Ice (United States Hockey League) announced that Pan Am Sports Incorporated will take over.

The city built Pan Am Plaza for the Pan Am Games in 1987, but in recent years it fell into terrible disrepair with the bricks and concrete crumbling and giving way. The Indiana World Skating Academy, a non-profit, had been struggling to deal with the expenses associated with repairs.

Kite Realty, which now owns Pan Am Plaza, began an overhaul of the site a year ago. Plans were to restore it as public gathering place until Kite pursued a mix-used development down the road. But those plans ground to a halt last fall.

According to Friday's press release, Pan Am Sports Inc. signed an interim management agreement with the Kite Realty Group, and plans call for the Pan Am Pavilion to open for winter sports after renovations are completed this summer.

The Indiana Ice will use the Pan Am Pavilion as the team's official training facility next season. The Indiana Junior Ice U18 and U16 youth teams will also use the facility, along with other Ice user groups.

"We hope to position the facility and team with USA Hockey to grow the game and continue to build on our USHL brand," said Jason Burkman, VP of the Indiana Ice and GM of the Pan Am Pavilion. "We look forward to celebrating our tenth anniversary season next year at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and our current training facility at the Pan Am Pavilion. We also have several exciting announcements forthcoming for next year including September's USHL Eastern Fall Classic and the Bigfoot Youth Hockey Showcase."

Both rinks will be closed for renovations following the culmination of the Indiana Ice season.

Crumbling building

IWSA had to deal with water leaking into its offices and an underground garage for years. That's caused significant water damage.

The city's Department of Code Enforcement ordered the plaza and portions of the garage below closed in fall of 2011 because of structural issues, concerns that took on added urgency with the 2012 Super Bowl.

While crews did finish a small area of the plaza just in time for the 25th anniversary of the Pan Am games in August 2012, people who work nearby say all activity came to a halt soon after.