Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. opened in 1971 and holds five national championship banners as well as serving as a winter home for 17,472 Hoosier fans each season.
It’s one of the most iconic venues in all of college basketball, but the university is looking to improve the condition of its longtime arena, according to an extensive report from Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star.
On Sunday morning, Osterman posted proposed plans to renovate Assembly Hall, which could cost up to $30-$40 million.
“Our planning … is looking at preserving Assembly Hall, breathing life into that building,” IU athletic director Fred Glass told the Star. “I think Hoosier fans will be really excited about our plans. They’re ambitious.”
According to Osterman changes to Assembly Hall would include:
• Luxury seating above the bleachers behind the south basket.
• A “modern jumbotron” that would “dramatically (improve) the fan experience for our balcony ticketholders.”
• The south lobby becoming “a grand new entryway.”
• Escalators replacing some ramps.
• Remodeled restrooms and concession stands, and additional restrooms.
Besides the tradition of IU basketball, part of what makes Assembly Hall unique is the arena’s seating. There isn’t circular bowl seating, and the documents Osterman and the Star obtained referenced the competitive advantages the building has over opponents.
Osterman reported that in 2007, though there were no specific plans for a replacement, the board of trustees discussed ideas for more athletic offices, a practice facility, suites and better views for spectators. Since then, IU has added the Cook Hall practice facility, and some athletic offices have been moved to the football stadium. Under Glass, the focus has been more on upgrading Assembly Hall, and less on constructing a new home.
Glass said the cost of a new arena would be $200 to $300 million. Even with fatter TV revenues footing the bill for many new investments, Indiana remains one of the Big Ten’s most moderately funded athletic departments.
The University’s Policy on Institutional Naming forbids any sort of corporate naming, so financing a new stadium that way would require the board reversing the policy.
To read the full plans, which also covers the history of the revered arena, here is the link once again.