NewsSpring 2011

Athletics & Recreation Center has high profile

UIndy enjoyed the central Indiana spotlight in January as the campus community celebrated the inflation of the large air-supported structure at the new Athletics & Recreation Center. After delays caused by snow, wind, and frigid temperatures, the 90,200-square-foot dome was finally inflated on a cold, foggy, rainy day. The supersized visual spectacle attracted cameras and crews from all four of Indianapolis’s commercial TV stations, the Indianapolis Star, and other media outlets. Intrepid Communication students from UIndy TV braved the weather to capture the inflation from the roof of nearby East Hall.

In conjunction with UIndy’s Ruth Lilly Center for Health and Fitness, the ARC will double the indoor space on campus for a broad range of athletics and fitness activity, benefiting varsity athletes and non-athletes alike. In all honesty, however, that probably doesn’t explain the external attention. The facility also will serve as the official practice site for next year’s NFC champions in the run-up to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Thus, the news cameras appeared again Jan. 27 when Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and local Super Bowl Host Committee Chair Mark Miles joined UIndy students, trustees and President Beverley Pitts on the dais for the first event inside the new dome. The Skybreaking, as the celebration was called, drew hundreds of students, staff, and faculty to hear remarks from the assembled dignitaries and look around inside the still-under-construction athletics center.

The most obvious features inside the dome will be an NCAA-regulation six-lane running track surrounding three basketball courts, along with baseball batting cages and field sports facilities, but its wide-open interior space could lend itself to a range of uses as the structure is incorporated into campus life. In addition to the dome, the center includes an attached 20,000- square-foot concrete support building with locker rooms, offices, conference and multipurpose rooms, and laundry and training rooms.

Opening for limited use this spring, the ARC is a $6-million project for UIndy, with additional funding from the local Host Committee to cover costs related to the NFL’s eventual use next winter. Artificial turf will be installed temporarily on top of the dome’s multipurpose rubber flooring, then removed after the Super Bowl and reinstalled at Arsenal Technical High School, part of the near-eastside Indianapolis neighborhood that is the focus of the Super Bowl XLVI Legacy projects. —Scott Hall


One piece of footage that might help to define Super Bowl XLVI preparations in the next year is the one created by two UIndy Electronic Media majors. Produced by Nick Trulock ’11 and Andy Gipson ’12, the 60-second high-speed video documents the inflation of UIndy’s Athletics & Recreation Center.

They used the unobstructed vantage point of East Hall’s roof to monitor progress on the four-hour inflation of the dome. But as can be expected in Indiana, the weather presented challenges. A garbage bag was needed to protect the camera from rain, and the chill forced the two-man crew to wait inside. But tapes lasted only 60 minutes, so the team kept a close eye on the recording to ensure that the entire event was captured.

After capturing footage in the morning, the two spent the afternoon in the studio, editing it all down to one impressive visual. The video was posted online and became a feature for several Indy TV news outlets, including WISH-TV, WTHR, and Fox 59. The video even found a home on the Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee website and was played during the “Skybreaking” celebration of the ARC on campus.

Watch the time-lapse video of the dome inflation at

—Tim Coxey ’11

the authorMarty