National Art Museum of Sport may leave Indianapolis

The National Art Museum of Sport is considering leaving Indianapolis, a possible move stemming from the planned conversion of its home at University Place Conference Center and Hotel into a student residence hall for IUPUI.

The museum “is currently evaluating numerous proposals, in multiple cities, in the museum’s search for its next home,” NAMOS said in an announcement Monday morning, attributed to Patrick Perrella, the chairman of its board of trustees. The museum will relocate in 2013.

Later this week, the museum plans to release a request for proposals that details its space requirements, said executive director Elizabeth Varner.

Varner said other locations within the Indianapolis area would be considered, but that its board has an obligation to consider other U.S. cities, as well.

Last Friday, IUPUI officials announced that University Place, a 278-room hotel, would be converted to student housing in 2013.

IUPUI has been a “massive boon for us” given support the university has provided, Varner said.

Varner, NAMOS’ only full-time employee, noted that six graduate students are involved in museum operations.

NAMOS was founded in 1959 and moved to its first permanent location, Madison Square Garden in New York City, in 1968.  It later moved to University of New Haven, in Connecticut, where it was located before moving to Indianapolis.

The museum, which exhibited at the 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis, moved to what is now Chase Tower in 1991. Three years later, it moved to its current home at University Place, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus.

NAMOS said its final exhibit at IUPUI, Speed and Motion: Racing to the Finish Line, will be held May 23.The museum has a collection of about 1,000 pieces.  Its most recent traveling exhibit was The Football Invitational, tied to February’s Super Bowl.

The museum reported $57,666 in revenue, $33,738 in expenses and $212,249 in assets in its 2010 annual financial report. The assets do not include the value of the museums's art collection.

IUPUI said it is converting University Place to student housing after six years of losses totaling $1.8 million.

The facility underwent a $13 million renovation in 2005 and is the Indianapolis-area’s 14th largest hotel.

When converted, the facility sporting IUPUI’s first student cafeteria will be able to house 560 students.  IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz last week said there’s a waiting list of more than 200 students currently seeking housing on what had traditionally been a commuter college.

IUPUI owns the facility, which is operated under contract with New York-based Flik Hotels and Convention Centers.  About 150 people are employed at the hotel, with many likely to lose their jobs

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