IU Athletics’ dedication ceremony for the newly renovated Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Friday marked the end of a multiyear process to overhaul the school’s most iconic sports venue.
Speaking in front of a crowd of several hundred in the brand new south lobby, IU President Michael McRobbie formally dedicated the newly named arena.
The updates to Assembly Hall were made possible by a $40 million donation from philanthropist and IU alumna Cindy Simon Skjodt.
The main changes made to the home of IU men’s and women’s basketball include the new south lobby and glass atrium that gives a glimpse of the court from the lobby, as well as the addition of the Henke Spirit of ’76 Club, an 83-seat hospitality suite located above the south bleachers.
“My love for this great institution has never been a secret,” Simon Skjodt said during the ceremony. “Every time I’m on this campus, I have an overwhelming sense of pride. I look forward to sitting in this iconic basketball hall for generations to come.”
Simon Skjodt and many of her family members attended IU, including all three of her children.
IU Director of Athletics Fred Glass said the renovations were intended to maintain the old nostalgic feel of IU basketball while also updating features around the arena. To that end, bathrooms and concessions were expanded and updated. In the north lobby, a piece of the old center court that was used from 1976 until 1995 hangs as the main centerpiece.
“Our objective was to preserve for future teams and generations of Hoosier fans the greatest home court advantage in college basketball,” Glass said. “The vision and generosity of Cindy Simon Skjodt and other donors have enabled us to not only preserve it, but to dramatically enhance it.”
IU men’s and women’s basketball coaches Tom Crean and Teri Moren, respectively, preached the importance of the new facilities in future recruiting efforts, as well as the overall improvement the renovations will have on player experience at IU.
Glass said the official seating capacity for the arena was reduced by 250 to 17,222, but assured the overall experience will be better because of it, citing recent renovations at the Illinois and the Michigan.
Public tours of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Reservations are not required, as those interested can simply enter the building in the south lobby.
“We’re trying to bring people in that appreciate the values of this University, and the values of this university are really epitomized in this building now,” Crean said. “There are so many memories, but now there’s going to be a titanic explosion of that in here.”