Multi-million dollar plan proposed to renovate IU Natatorium

Published: .
Updated: .

There is now a multi-million dollar plan in place to renovate the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus.

Sources confirmed to Eyewitness News Thursday a deal has been struck to not just fix the aging facility, but to make some significant improvements. The deal involves several partners, including the city, Indiana University, the Indianapolis Sports Corporation and the Lilly Endowment.

The 32-year-old Natatorium has hosted hundreds of world-class athletes over the years, like Olympic champion Michael Phelps, and it's also been a place for everyday Hoosiers to swim. But the venue has also been losing money and falling apart.

A recent study showed the building needs nearly $18 million in repairs, including a new roof, lighting and HVAC system.

The problem has been - who pays?

IU owns the natatorium, but the city works to bring many events to the facility.

"It's a difficult challenge. It's a difficult challenge for the university, it's a difficult challenge for the community," said IU Vice President of Facilities Tom Morrison in a 2013 interview.

Sources tell Eyewitness News the new agreement calls for IU and the Lilly Endowment to pay $20 million to fix the Natatorium and have it done in time for the Olympic diving trials in June 2016.

The city will also pitch in, agreeing to make infrastructure improvements that will help connect the campus to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The specifics will be announced next week and the plan will need approval from the Metropolitan Development Commission.