IU’s volleyball and wrestling teams will soon have a home on campus in the form of a new 3,000-seat, $17 million arena. The new venue will be located on the northwest corner of 17th Street and Fee Lane, next to Cook Hall and near IU’s other athletics facilities.
Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities Thomas Morrison said the idea of a new arena for the teams has been in the works for quite a while.
“This has been part of the University’s master plan for a long time,” Morrison said. “We’ve been trying to relocate all the athletic programs on to the athletic district. Volleyball and wrestling have been competing in a building in the technology park. It is far away from the rest of the athletic complex.”
Morrison said this was the last relocation needed in the athletic master plan. IU volleyball head coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan said this move is something that she has also been looking forward to.
“Excited would be an understatement,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “This will be my 11th season here and it’s something we’ve talked about pretty much my entire career here. After seeing the kind of arenas in the Big Ten and the ones they are currently building, we thought it was not only wanted, but needed to keep us competitive in what’s considered best conference in the country for volleyball.”
The new arena’s location was highly discussed when planning the move, Morrison said. Dunbar-Kruzan said she believes the change of scenery could help increase attendance at games.
“Our location is not good,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “We are off-campus so we have great community support, which we are hoping to maintain in the new arena, but we lack student support because of the inconvenience of having to get to the games. I think if they can walk and know exactly where it is, they will come.”
Morrison said students were the top priority when planning the move.
“The student-athletes are much closer to all their other services like athletic training, nutrition and academic services,” Morrison said. “It’s also closer to where the students live, making it easier to get to.”
Dunbar-Kruzan said moving closer to IU’s other athletics facilities will make everything more convenient for the student-athletes.
“There’s no better location for it,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “They looked at a lot of places and of course I would have been supportive of them all because we are getting a new gym, but this is by far the best location I could have dreamed of. It’s right across from the Briscoe dorms and it’s right in the middle of the activity.”
Morrison said the process of getting the venue built usually takes about a year to plan before getting approved and about another year to build.
“It’s been through the design approval,” Morrison said. “We would hope to start construction this fall and we think it should take about twelve months. It’s not a very complicated building to build so we expect it to be done in the fall of 2018.”
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