A Super idea


Rather than build a brand-new NFL practice facility from the ground up, the Super Bowl Host Committee turns to UIndy

Image courtesy of Design Collaborative

When the Super Bowl comes to Indianapolis in 2012, the University of Indianapolis will be a key player. Its Student Athletics and Recreation Center, now under construction, has been selected to serve as the NFC practice facility for the nation’s most-watched sporting event.

The recreation center, on the drawing board for several years as funds were raised, drew interest from the Indianapolis Host Committee because the planned structure and adjacent building will meet many of the NFL’s specifications for the temporary practice facilities it will need in Indianapolis.

Under an air-supported dome, the space will be large enough to house a football field, though it is being designed for flexible use by a variety of UIndy ports.

Also part of the project is an adjacent 20,000-square-foot building that will house offices, meeting rooms, training rooms, and lockers. These, too, will be put to use by the NFC.

The Host Committee’s decision to piggyback on the athletics center at the University of Indianapolis will save local organizers some $2 million that will instead be spent on Downtown improvements for the thousands of fans who will gather for activities during Super Bowl week.

As a result of the Super Bowl connection, but at no additional cost to the University, the campus community will enjoy a more flexible and usable facility for many years to come. The recreation “bubble” and adjoining building, located near the northeast corner of campus adjacent to other athletic facilities, will be complete in December.

The NFL will require some enhancements beyond the original plans, including a larger domed area, but the Host Committee is expected to cover any related costs exceeding the University’s original project budget of approximately $6 million.

As Super Bowl XLVI approaches, artificial turf will be installed temporarily inside UIndy’s dome. Later, the turf will be moved to the football field at IPS’s Arsenal Technical High School, the hub of the NFL’s Legacy Project for the 2012 Super Bowl: a revitalization of the city’s Near Eastside that includes residential redevelopment and the construction of a community center on the high school campus.

Originally, the community center was to be designed with NFC specifications in mind for locker rooms, meeting rooms, and the like, and then later repurposed for the community.

However, with the decision to use UIndy’s facilities, the Host Committee and other local leaders note that the center truly now can be developed for the community from the outset.