May 27, 2013, 6:04 PM EDT
Brad Stevens and Butler already call one of the most iconic college basketball arenas in the nation home, now that home is getting some improvements.
Hinkle Fieldhouse will get $34 million in renovations, mainly focusing on the interior of the arena and certain student-athlete areas. The renovations are expected to be concluded in time for the 2014-15 season.
The details make the alterations sound pretty enticing. Wider concourses, 5,000 chairback seats — scaling back it’s total capacity to 9,100 — for fans, along with a new video scoreboard. Bleacher seating will still be available for students.
Phase one of the project has already begun, which is estimated to cost $23 million. That phase involves improving an unused natatorium, which will make it usable. The 17,700-square foot facility is getting a weight room in the basement, an academic center and coaches and administration offices.
With Hinkle Fieldhouse being registered as a national historic landmark, the arena cannot legally undergo a serious renovation. However, who would want to do that to a place as legendary to the game of basketball as Hinkle?
These days, improving facilities in college sports has become an arms race that has become key in recruiting. Even though Stevens and the Bulldogs have been able to sell their winning ways and historic fieldhouse, sometimes a facelift is necessary to keep up a bit with the rest of the college basketball world. Even programs like Butler have to do it every once in a while, however small the change.
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