Butler University raises $12 million in campaign to refurbish historic Hinkle Fieldhouse

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Butler University officials on Friday said they had raised $12 million toward a $16 million capital campaign to fund major upgrades to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Built in 1928 at a cost of $750,000, the aging sports facility is about to undergo its most extensive renovation since the building began hosting basketball games shortly before the Great Depression.

Friday’s public announcement comes about 2-1/2 years after the university began targeting its traditionally larger donors during the campaign’s “silent phase.”  The original renovation plan called for $25 million in improvements but has been scaled back.

“We’ve made good, steady progress,” said Bill Lynch, Butler’s associate athletic director of development, about the university’s fundraising efforts.

To help complete the campaign, Butler said it will offer several sponsorship options. Donors can put their names on brick pavers for $500, on chair-back seats for $1,000 and on lockers for $5,000.

“We need to be a program built for eternity, because we play in a gym built for eternity,” Butler men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens said Friday morning.

A storm in August 2009 that damaged part of the building’s roof and dislodged bricks on the exterior prompted a study to determine how Hinkle could be modernized without changing its outside appearance.

As a U.S. National Historic Landmark, the building’s original structure must stay intact. University officials, for instance, can’t even upgrade its single-pane windows with double-pane replacements.

Brick tuck-pointing and window replacements already have begun.

The campaign is expected to run about a year, with the renovation lasting a few years, Lynch said.

Improvements will be made to the interior and exterior.

Season ticket holders will benefit from more chair-type seats that will be added, replacing most of the benches in the lower bowl. Chairs were first installed in 1989, which cut seating capacity from 15,000 to 10,000. Capacity will drop further, to about 8,500, after the additional chairs are installed.

A new scoreboard will be added, new restrooms installed and upgrades will be made to the locker rooms, in addition to the strength and conditioning and sports medicine facilities.

Hinkle houses physical education classrooms and offices for 19 sports, significantly more than the four sports it hosted when built, a year after Babe Ruth slugged 60 home runs in 1927.

When it was built, Hinkle was the largest basketball arena in the country, a distinction it held until 1950. The building hosted the Indiana high school basketball championships from 1928 to to 1971 and picked up a shrine-like reputation among basketball fans.

The arena has received significant national attention in recent years thanks to Butler's consecutive trips to the NCAA men's basketball championship game in 2010 and 2011.

“There’s so many great memories here,” Lynch said. “I think in that sense it’s been a fun project to work on, and I think people certainly see the need.”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...