Simon-Skjodt gift puts Indiana on track to finish Assembly Hall renovations by 2016

Indiana athletic director Fred Glass wants to renovate Assembly Hall and do it quickly. His hope is that all renovations would be finished by 2016 and that Indiana could also move on several other capital athletics projects and have them done in the same timetable.

“I want the kids who arrived as freshman in the fall to participate in and attend games in these facilities when they leave as fourth-year seniors,” Glass said.

It’s a more than just slightly ambitious goal, but the speed at which Indiana obtained funds for the project makes it much more plausible.

Cindy Simon-Skjodt, daughter of late shopping mall magnate and Indiana Pacers owner Melvin Simon and wife of Indiana Ice owner Paul Skojdt, has contributed $40 million to the project and in return, Assembly Hall will be renamed Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall in her honor.

The Simon family has long been involved in philanthropy and Indiana University, especially Indiana athletics. Simon-Skojdt also recently made a $2 million gift to the Lily Family School of Philanthropy to create the Melvin Simon Chair of Philanthropy. According to Glass, she is a long-time season-ticket holder.

“I’m really excited about her name being on it,” Glass said. “It’s not like she’s some corporation or some person who landed from Mars. She’s really connected with the university. Her father and uncle really saved the Pacers from being bought from outside interests in the ’80s, and I think you can say she saved Assembly Hall for the next generation.”

Glass said the renovations and renderings reported in the Indianapolis Star last week were largely accurate. Indiana will build a new jumbotron, new luxury seating, an expanded entrance in the south lobby and also make infrastructure improvements with escalators replacing ramps, new restrooms and concession facilities.

“It’s going to make it viable for another 42 years,” Glass said. “I’m an advocate for refurbishing Assembly Hall instead of replacing it. We’re trying to preserve the best home-court advantage in college basketball, and this $40 million gift is great because it allows it’s going to fully enable us to make those changes.”

The capital fundraising project moved much quicker than Glass expected, with the $40 million gift coming before IU even stepped out of the silent phase of fundraising. By contrast, push to build funding for IU’s new baseball-softball complex took years before Bart Kaufman came through with a naming rights donation.

“I’ve never seen anything like this and how quickly it moved,” Glass said. “It really speaks to Cindy’s generosity.”



One comment

  1. thanks for the money but pls dont put your name on the facility or then just leave it alone! Why do you have to put your name on it!??

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