Butler University announced a $16 million public fundraising goal in its Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse today. The campaign aims to preserve the 84-year-old fieldhouse’s classic architecture and feel, while improving interior spaces to better serve student-athletes and fans.
Butler has already secured over $11 million in campaign gifts and pledges, which has allowed the University to begin repairs to the fieldhouse’s exterior this past summer. Work included tuck-pointing 282,000 bricks, replacing more than 9,700 windowpanes with energy-efficient glass, and updating utilities.
Interior improvements are planned in 2013-2014. The site of a former natatorium will be reconstructed to house a new student-athlete academic center, strength and conditioning room, sports medicine center, and coaching/administration offices. Locker rooms will be remodeled for several sports. Fan-friendly additions to Hinkle’s arena will include a scoreboard with video capability, more chair-back seating, and additional restrooms. View renovation plans at http://youtu.be/pzmnj0KqNKY.
Hinkle’s West Gym practice facility will be renamed the Efroymson Family Gym, recognizing a $1 million gift from the Efroymson Family Fund. Other major gifts have been received from the estate of baseball alumnus Rex Blacker ’40; from alumni T. Scott ’85 and Debra ’83 Law and their company Zotec Partners; St. Vincent Health; and the federal “Save America’s Treasures” program.
Butler President James M. Danko said the campaign embodies Butler’s commitment to offer innovative service for students and the community while maintaining the University’s treasured traditions.
“In renovating our beloved Fieldhouse, we will honor its place as a state and national landmark,” Danko said, “and ensure that Hinkle will serve student-athletes and all Hoosiers for generations to come.”
Opened in 1928 as the Butler Fieldhouse, the 15,000-seat arena reigned as the nation’s largest basketball arena for the next 20 years. (Later reconfigured, the arena now seats 10,000.)
Community leaders contributed $750,000 for the fieldhouse’s construction, under the agreement that the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) basketball championships would be staged there. That tradition continued from 1928 to 1971.
Renamed for veteran Butler coach and athletic director Paul “Tony” Hinkle in 1966, the fieldhouse has been the site of national indoor track meets, tennis matches, U.S. Olympic basketball trials, professional and college all-star basketball games, the 1987 Pan American Games volleyball competition, Roller Derby, and a six-day bike race. The finale of the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed in Hinkle, re-creating the “Milan Miracle” from the IHSAA 1954 championship game.
During World War II, the fieldhouse served as temporary barracks for military trainees. It has hosted Butler and local high school commencements, concerts, addresses by six U.S. Presidents, the Billy Graham Crusade, and the Sonja Henie ice show.
Hinkle Fieldhouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
“No other facility in Indiana has accommodated so many people over so long a period and for so many different purposes,” Butler Athletic Director and Vice President Barry Collier said.
“Butler and Indiana’s history have been made in the fieldhouse. We hope everyone who shares and appreciates that history will support the campaign.”
Contributions may be made at www.hinklecampaign.com.
Butler will celebrate Hoosier Hysteria Day at Hinkle Dec. 22, inviting all former IHSAA tournament players, coaches, officials, and participants to be honored during a men’s basketball game against the University of Evansville.
Media contacts: Courtney Tuell