Indiana Univ.'s Assembly Hall To Be Renamed, Renovated After $40M Donation
Indiana Univ.'s Assembly Hall will be "named after philanthropist Cindy Simon Skjodt" following her $40M gift to "renovate the iconic 42-year-old basketball arena," according to a front-page piece by Kravitz & Osterman of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The building will "become Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall when renovations are complete" around '16. The $40M figure is the "largest gift in athletic department history and fourth-largest in school history," and will "pay for most or all of the work" on the arena. It is part of IU's $150M fundraising campaign to "improve athletic facilities." Simon Skjodt's father is late Pacers co-Owner Mel Simon. Changes at Assembly Hall include "luxury seating above the bleachers behind the south basket; escalators replacing some ramps; a modern 'jumbotron' scoreboard; turning the south lobby into a 'grand entryway' and remodeled restrooms and concession stands, plus additional restrooms." The seating bowl and balcony "will remain unchanged, and seating capacity will not decrease" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 12/20). IU AD David Glass said, "The best part about it is exactly who ended up naming Assembly Hall. ... Cindy Simon, notwithstanding have a bazillion dollars, is like us. She grew up in this state. She went to games as a kid. She went to the games as a student. She's gone to the games since then. She always is talking about Indiana basketball. She reads everything about Indiana basketball" (Bloomington HERALD-TIMES, 12/20). In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle noted Simon Skjodt will "make the donation through the Samerian Foundation, which she founded and leads." Thursday’s announcement marks a "reversal of what IU trustees said before Glass was hired in late 2008 -- that renovation was impractical" (IBJ.com, 12/19).