Design to enclose south end zone of Memorial Stadium approved by IU trustees

  • Oct. 10, 2016

Editor's note: This story from The Bloomington Herald-Times is being published here as a courtesy for readers of IU in the News.

By Michael Reschke

The Indiana University Board of Trustees approved a design plan that will fill in the south end zone of Memorial Stadium with a two-story and nearly 100,000-square-foot addition at its meeting Friday morning.

RATIO Architects of Indianapolis, the same firm that designed the stadium’s north end zone addition, provided architect’s renderings that showed a limestone entryway and grass in place of the existing pavement just south and west of the stadium.

Two stair towers, similar to those at the north end zone, will flank the entryway. A rectangular limestone wall, with an engraving of the IU trident, will rise above those towers and house a new video board that will face the field.

The primary purpose of the addition is to expand facility space, and it will only expand seating capacity by a couple hundred, at most. Trustee Patrick Shoulders acknowledged Memorial Stadium rarely sells out, but still expressed concern that the design seemed to limit the possibility of increasing seating capacity should the need arise in the future.

“We just beat Michigan State,” he said. “What if 40,000 more people decide to show up?”

Tom Morrison, vice president of capital planning and facilities, said the east stands, which are considerably shorter than the west stands, could be built up, as well as the north and even south end zones, if need be.

For now, the new addition will add a new event terrace where fans can socialize. A multipurpose event suite and a new Hoosier Room for athlete dining will be housed on the second floor of the addition, below the event terrace, with glass walls facing the field. Rehabilitation facilities, including a hydrotherapy clinic, will be housed below that.

The project is estimated to cost about $53 million and is expected to be finished in time for the 2018 season. A new video board and sound system will be installed at the north end of the stadium for the 2017 season. That video board will remain as a supplemental video board once the south end zone project is completed.

The project will ultimately be financed by a combination of private donations and athletic department funds, but the board approved a measure Thursday that will allow the university to sell bonds for the stadium project and a $30 million renovation of the Eskenazi Museum of Art. That will give the university some flexibility in how it will pay for these projects, Morrison said. For example, IU might decide to use the money from the sale of bonds to pay for the addition up front and then use money from future donations to pay back those bonds. Exact details of how these projects will be financed haven’t been finalized yet, Morrison said.

The art museum renovation project, also unanimously approved by the board Friday, is expected to cost about $30 million and is expected to be finished by July 2018. The plan calls for renovating nearly 200,000 gross square feet of museum space, upgrading various building systems and incorporating technology into gallery spaces. A specific design for the renovation will be presented to the board at a future meeting.

The board’s final action on Friday was approval of a Divine Nine Recognition Plaza to be located west of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and south of the IU Auditorium. The Divine Nine are the nine historically black fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. One of those, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, was founded at IU in 1911, according to Morrison’s presentation to the board.

The design plan calls for fabricated limestone monuments decorated with a bronze plaque displaying the name, chapter name, founding date, charter date and official crest of each of the nine sororities and fraternities. The plaque on a 10th monument will outline the historical and cultural significance of the plaza.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1 and 2 at IU East in Richmond.