Super addition: new Athletics & Recreation Center

 

UIndy enjoyed the central Indiana spotlight in January as the campus community celebrated the inflation of the large air-supported structure at the new Athletics & Recreation Center. After delays caused by snow, wind, and frigid temperatures, the 90,200-square-foot dome finally was inflated on a cold, foggy, rainy day. The supersized visual spectacle attracted cameras and crews from all four of Indianapolis’s commercial TV stations, the Indianapolis Star, and other media outlets.

Intrepid Communication students from UIndy TV braved the weather to capture the inflation from the roof of nearby East Hall. In conjunction with UIndy’s Ruth Lilly Center for Health and Fitness, the ARC will double the indoor space on campus for a broad range of athletics and fitness activity, benefiting varsity athletes and non-athletes alike. In all honesty, however, that probably doesn’t explain the external attention.

Temporary turf for NFC champs
The facility also will serve as the official practice site for next year’s NFC champions in the run-up to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Thus, the news cameras appeared again January 27 when Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and local Super Bowl Host Committee Chair Mark Miles joined UIndy students, trustees, and President Beverley Pitts on the dais for the first event inside the new dome. The Skybreaking, as the celebration was called, drew hundreds of students, staff, and faculty to hear remarks from the assembled dignitaries and look around inside the still-under-construction athletics center.

The most obvious features inside the dome will be an NCAA-regulation six-lane running track surrounding three basketball courts, along with baseball batting cages and field sports facilities, but its wide-open interior space could lend itself to a range of uses as the structure is incorporated into campus life. In addition to the dome, the center includes an attached 20,000-square-foot concrete building with locker rooms, offices, conference and multipurpose rooms, and laundry and training rooms. Open for limited use this spring, the ARC is a $6-million project for UIndy, with additional funding from the local Host Committee to cover costs related to the NFL’s eventual use next winter.

Artificial turf is being installed temporarily this summer on top of the dome’s multipurpose rubber flooring, to be removed after the Super Bowl and reinstalled at Arsenal Technical High School, part of the near-eastside Indianapolis neighborhood that is the focus of the Super Bowl XLVI Legacy projects.