Skating academy to close ice rinks at Pan Am Plaza

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Indiana World Skating Academy, a fixture in downtown Indianapolis since 1987, plans to suspend operations of its two indoor ice rinks at Pan Am Plaza this month and begin looking for a new location, the not-for-profit announced Wednesday.

IWSA officials said "growing financial obligations" and the property owner’s plan to redevelop the Pan Am block led to the decision.

Owner Kite Realty Group Trust hopes to build a large mixed-use project on the property that could include a high-rise hotel, restaurants, and retail and residential space. The project would eliminate the rinks.

The academy was almost evicted from the site in 2008 after the Indiana Sports Corp. sold Pan Am Plaza to a partnership of Indianapolis-based Kite and California-based Coastal Partners LLC. IWSA was given a matter of months to get out to make way for redevelopment of the site, but reached an agreement to stay when those plans stalled during the recession.

IWSA has long been considered one of the nation’s top ice skating academies and a training center for all Winter Olympic ice sports. Athletes from around the world have trained at the center.

A 2006 Indiana University study concluded the skating facility has a $26 million annual economic impact on Indianapolis. The IWSA pays only $1 annually in rent, but has been operating at a deficit due to the high cost of maintaining the aging facility. Revenue generated mostly from user fees and donations haven't covered its $1 million-plus annual budget.

“IWSA regrets having to make this decision, leaving the city of Indianapolis without a year-round ice facility,” IWSA Executive Director Pam Robinson said in a written statement. “The board of directors and I express deep appreciation for the past support we have received, and look forward with excitement to what the future holds for IWSA.”

Robinson said IWSA officials "are in conversations" with other Indiana cities that have existing ice rinks or may be interested in building a skating facility.

"IWSA is not going away," said Dan Boots, IWSA board chairman, in a written statement. "We are committed to furthering our efforts in support of ice sports in Indiana and will be using this time to strategically plan for our future.”


  • Iwsa
    Alot of the problems started with the building of the facility to start with. Corners were cut cheap materials used. The place starting leaking the first day drain pans started being put in the garage almost as soon as the rinks were ready after the Pan Am Games then there was constant movement of the building between summer and winter even today you can see on capitol the sidewalk is almost 6 inches lower than it was. The compresor system was undersized and there are rinks with parking garages under them but not like this one. It was to a point where bleachers would not move in and out because of the movement. There is alot of work ahead for someone but why put alot of money into that area if there wont be a changed to the overall stability of the place.There are pumps on the 3rd level that have to pump 24hrs a day to keep the underground lake or river from coming up and flooding levels of garage. Most maintenance issues were from the leaks. Not only for the rinks but for the garage. They have replaced a main beam once but there are more than that. If you want to take a shower you dont have to use a locker room. I understand the amount of money they are spending now but still wont solve the key issue the whole base of the garage and rinks moves all the time. As far as the Indianapolis Ice I think they will find that the maintenance will also make them rethink this whole redoing it. If you dont start from the bottom work your way up why do it. As for the Ice rinks they were told 10 years ago they were going to be out so why put the money into something that clearing you would fix one day and another issue the next. They did spend alot of money on repairs but you cant tell it because you would have to repair again such as the fire system. They built with cheap pipe and turn off and fix you got another leak the next day. So say what you want I know everyone has a better way of doing it but they havent been in this building yet. The fresh air intake into the whole building fell off before the new owners took over and to there credit sierra crest and kite they were not told everything that was wrong with the building. You can see alot of mold in the ceiling from water and not a bit a fresh air goes into that place until the door is open. They should look at what is missing and reconsider until they can build from ground up. I know when they were doing georgia street conversion the sewer pipes from the building were not attached and big sink holes found. Walk around and look at the height differences in walks and entrances.
  • Better Use
    Hate seeing the ice skating rinks leaving downtown but this block needs to be redeveloped. The site needs a hotel/apartments retail space directly connected to the convention center. The Intercontinental Hotel proposal was wonderful. Too bad that couldn't be pursued again. The block is under utilized presntly.
  • IWSA
    I never ccould figure out how the IWSA could have enough income to pay for upkeep to the Pan Am skating rinks. Does this mean the ice rinks will be closed for good and that the Indiana Ice hockey team is back on the street AGAIN for next season?
  • $ impact
    $26 million per year impact and there's no interest in providing some upkeep relief?
  • No more hockey, eh?
    Like many things in Indianapolis, the facility is poorly maintained. In fact, that whole block is a mess. Kite Realty is insane if they redevelop that site. When conventions are in town, it's fairly busy. Otherwise crickets. Georgia Street, the city's newest scheme to lure out of towners, is looking old and tired already. Many of the chrome bollards have been knocked over. The bricks are cracked around them. No maintenance of any kind takes place. Build it and let it fall apart. That's the Indy way.

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