INDIANAPOLIS (UIndy) – As the United Methodist-related University of Indianapolis prepares to break ground on its previously announced Student Athletics and Recreation Center, the city’s 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee announced April 20 that the center will serve as the designated NFC practice facility for the nation’s most-watched sporting event.
Although the recreation center was designed to boost UIndy’s capacity for intramural sports, fitness activities and athletic training, it drew interest from the Host Committee because it also meets many of the NFL’s specifications for the temporary practice facilities it will need in Indianapolis.
The UIndy recreation center will include an air-supported dome, intended for multipurpose use but large enough to house a football field, as well as an attached 20,000-square-foot support building with offices, meeting rooms, training rooms and lockers. Construction is set to begin in May near the northeast corner of campus, adjacent to other athletic facilities.
The NFL’s use between December 2011 and February 2012 will require some enhancements beyond the original plans, including a larger domed area, but the Host Committee is expected to cover any costs exceeding the university’s original project budget of approximately $6 million. University officials expect no delays related to the design changes, and the facility is still scheduled to open for the campus community this fall. As a result of the Super Bowl connection, but at no additional cost to the university, the campus community will enjoy a more flexible and usable facility for many years to come.
As Super Bowl XLVI approaches, artificial turf will be installed temporarily inside the dome. Later, the turf will be moved to the football field of IPS’ Arsenal Technical High School, the hub of the NFL’s Legacy Project for the 2012 Super Bowl: a revitalization of the city’s Near Eastside that includes residential redevelopment and the construction of a community center on the high school campus.