The Butler Bulldogs are entering their first season of Big East play this season, but it is next season that is getting most of the attention right now. University president James Danko announced that the board of trustees approved a timetable for a $34 million renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse. If all goes according to plan, the new arena will be completed by November of 2014.
The 85-year-old arena is a national historic landmark, so it cannot undergo drastic changes on the outside, but that is not a problem to Butler officials.
For them, it will be all about improving the stadium experience.
“We want it to look better because it will look new, just like it did in 1928,” school athletic director Barry Collier said. “That would be the perfect thing — ‘That’s my Hinkle Fieldhouse,’ when somebody drives up.
“We want it to feel the same as it did. So you’ll see the shape of the bowl will not change, the height of the floor will not change, the height of the lights will not change. The hallways will be more like they were in the ’20s, when they weren’t full of coaches’ offices.”
What will the renovations include? Per the Indy Star:
Beginning in the 2014-15 season, the fieldhouse will have wider concourses, 5,000 chairbacks, more handicapped seating, handrails and new bathrooms. Capacity will be about 9,100, less than the current 10,000 but more than previous estimates.
Athletic director Barry Collier said a new scoreboard with video capability will be designed so that it looks “like it belongs here.”There will continue to be bleacher seats for students. The band moves to the second level, where it formerly played. The Wildman Room, used for hospitality, will double in size for alumni gatherings and guest events. There will also be kiosks commemorating historic moments in the fieldhouse.
Most of the money will be put towards locker rooms, training room, academic center and infrastructure, but they will be much needed improvements to keep the arena up to date as Brad Stevens keeps the basketball program near the top of college basketball.
For a series of renderings for the renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse, you can check out the Indianapolis Star.