A central Indiana fieldhouse that's one of the nation's largest high school basketball venues was insured for nearly $10 million when a severe storm recently damaged it, school officials say.
The historic Muncie Fieldhouse was valued at $9,858,130 on Feb. 15, when Muncie Community Schools filed a statement of values that underwriters used to calculate the policy premium. The policy has a $50,000 deductible.
The district's chief financial officer, Bob Coddington, told The Star Press that school officials are currently in the insurance claims process "and how long the process will take no one knows."
A severe thunderstorm on Nov. 5 toppled part of a brick facade onto the fieldhouse's roof, ripping in a hole in the roof and rupturing water pipes. Water cascading from those pipes then flooded the building's hardwood basketball floor. The gym, which opened in 1928, had an original seating capacity of 7,635 but a section of stands was closed off last year due to structural problems. It now seats about 6,000.
Stephen Avila, a Ball State University professor of finance and insurance who played basketball at the fieldhouse for Muncie Central High School, said he would be happy to lend his insurance expertise to the school district at no charge if he's needed.
"I would love to see it fixed if at all possible," he said.
The fieldhouse's future has been uncertain for more than a year and district officials had been slow to act on fixing apparent structural problems before the district entered its current financial crisis. The district is facing an $8.5 million general fund deficit and in June the state appointed emergency managers to oversee the district.