Fans will get their first look at the $36 million renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse on November 1 when the Butler men’s basketball team plays Tony Hinkle’s alma mater, the University of Chicago, in a pre-season game.
Game time is 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Hinkle Fieldhouse box office or by calling 317-940-3647 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
For the public, the renovations will mean greater comforts—4,500 new chair-back seats throughout the lower portion of the fieldhouse, a video scoreboard (a first for Hinkle), larger concession stands, additional restrooms, and an expanded gift shop.
“Fans are going to appreciate these updates to our great building,” Athletic Director Barry Collier said. “Everything we’ve done has been done with the mindset of making lines faster and space more abundant while retaining the history and charm of Hinkle Fieldhouse.”
Behind the scenes, the fieldhouse has added a weight room that’s nearly twice the size of the old one. There are new training facilities, locker rooms, classroom space for student-athletes, offices for coaches and staff, and meeting space that anyone on campus can book. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have new video rooms to study game film. The men’s facility was made possible by a gift from Gordon Hayward, now with the Utah Jazz.
The 86-year-old fieldhouse also has undergone extensive exterior renovations, including the tuck-pointing of 282,000 bricks, replacement of more than 9,700 windowpanes with energy-efficient glass, and an update of the utilities.
“Butler University is always conscious of Hinkle Fieldhouse’s place as a state and national landmark,” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “With these renovations, we ensure that Hinkle will serve student-athletes and all Hoosiers for generations to come.”
Opened in 1928 as the Butler Fieldhouse, the 15,000-seat arena reigned as the nation’s largest basketball arena for the next 20 years. Community leaders contributed $750,000 for the fieldhouse’s construction, under the agreement that the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) basketball championships would be staged there. That tradition continued from 1928 to 1971.
Renamed for veteran Butler coach and athletic director Paul “Tony” Hinkle in 1966, the fieldhouse has been the site of national indoor track meets, tennis matches, U.S. Olympic basketball trials, professional and college all-star basketball games, the 1987 Pan American Games volleyball competition, Roller Derby, and a six-day bike race. The finale of the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed in Hinkle, re-creating the “Milan Miracle” from the IHSAA 1954 championship game.
During World War II, the fieldhouse served as temporary barracks for military trainees. It has hosted Butler and local high school commencements, concerts, addresses by six U.S. Presidents, the Billy Graham Crusade, and the Sonja Henie ice show.
Hinkle Fieldhouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.