Assembly Hall is getting a face lift. And a new name.
On Thursday, the University announced that Cindi Simon-Skjodt has donated $40 million to Indiana to help renovate Assembly Hall. Because of the donation, the arena will be renamed Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall after the completion of the renovation project.
"It's always a great day to be a Hoosier, but this is a particularly great day to be a Hoosier," athletic director Fred Glass said at Thursday's press conference. "I seriously want this to be here for another 42 years. The goal is to preserve the best home-court advantage in college basketball."
There had long been discussion about whether Assembly Hall would be replaced with a new facility or renovated, but Glass and his staff began to look only at the second option a few months ago. He said he began reaching out to donors in late October.
Simon-Skjodt is the daughter of Melvin Simon (Simon Malls), who bought the Pacers to keep them in Indiana when they had threatened to move away.
"It brings me great pride to be able to offer this gift to IU for the next generation," Simon-Skjodt said. "I strongly believe that if you love this University, you should give back to this University. I truly hope I can be a spark in the Catching Excellence campaign."
"Cindi, I think your gift is less of a spark to the campaign as it is a blowtorch," Glass said. "I don't think it's too much of an overstatement to say, just like your father and your uncle saved the Pacers for Indiana, you are saving Assembly Hall for Indiana University."
Here are some of the renovations that have been planned by IU. The project will be completed as early as 2016.
**The south lobby will be reconstructed with a new entryway and dramatic atrium.
**Escalators will replace ramps in the south lobby leading to the balcony.
**Existing bathrooms and concessions stands will be remodeled and new bathrooms will be added.
A large state-of-the-art video scoreboard will replace the current bifurcated scoreboard.
Box seat-style seating will be added above the south baseline bleachers.
HVAC and other infrastructure systems will be updated and new broadcast technology center will be added to enhance IU Athletics video production and game day broadcasts.
"This is a monumental moment here," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "What Cindi just did and what the Simon-Skjodt family just did is preserve the legacy of a national treasure.
"It gives us a continued competitive edge. It gives us something to recruit to. We already had great things to recruit to, but much like Cook Hall did for the two basketball programs, it changed the landscape. It absolutely changed it. That's what is going to happen here."