IU, Purdue enter arms race

Two donors recently came forward to support the $82 million renovation of Purdue University’s Mackey Arena.

Tom Spurgeon, a 1961 alumnus and current Purdue trustee, has contributed $3 million toward the project. The gymnasium in the student-athlete academic center will be named for Bob Holloway, a 1948 alumnus who has committed $2 million to Mackey.

There are several interesting elements included in the overall project–notably increasing the number of concession sale points from 12 to 48, and adding cushy club seats and two corporate entertaining areas. These extras will be significant revenue boosters for Purdue’s athletic department. And if fans drink more liquid refreshments, fear not, the renovation creates three times as many women’s restrooms than there are now and increases the number of men’s restrooms by 35 percent.

Other upgrades to the 40-year-old basketball arena include improved ticket offices and widened concourses. The project is designed to bring academic, athletic and training needs into one complex. Morgan J. Burke, Purdue’s director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said the upgrades will be an important student recruiting tool.

With Indiana University also in a fund-raising mode for its athletic department, has an arms race begun between the in-state Big 10 rivals?

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