Indiana State University hopes to use state funds for arena

Indiana State University officials are hoping to use a $37.5 million state appropriation meant for a convention center project to renovate its basketball arena.

The Legislature matched the funds for the convention center project in 2015, the Tribune-Star reported. The city of Terre Haute, Vigo County and the Convention and Visitors Bureau partnered with the university to raise about $26.5 million.

The $10 million-plus funding gap has spurred the university to ask to use the funds to renovate its Hulman Center instead.

"Given the fiscal constraints and other needs faced by our city and county governments, it is understandable that the other partners have not been able to develop a financial plan to fully support the required match," said Dan Bradley, the university's president.

The university's board of trustees, the state Commission for Higher Education and the State Budget Committee must approve the plan.

"We do not want to risk losing this $37.5 million state investment in our community, which is the second largest capital appropriation the university has ever received," Bradley said. "I think there was consensus that the time had come, we really had to take action for fear of someone else in Indianapolis taking action to take the money away from us."

Renovation of the arena is expected to cost $50 million, Bradley said. Remaining funds would come through donations, reserves and debt.

County Commissioner Jon Marvel said the city, county and visitors bureau met the state's request of raising $25 million in match funds and that the university was responsible for the rest of the funding.

The university created a financial plan to share the cost of the funding gap and cut project costs but never agreed to raise the full amount that was remaining, said Teresa Exline, a spokeswoman for the university.

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