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Pandemic complicates first phase of Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovations

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Posted at 2:40 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 14:40:58-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Capital Improvement Board is modifying the construction schedule for the first phase of renovations to Bankers Life Fieldhouse due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first phase of the $360 million renovation project on the downtown arena is scheduled to begin this summer and end by the beginning of October. While the CIB and Pacers Sports & Entertainment still plan to go ahead with the first phase, some aspects that were planned to be completed by the scheduled start of the 2020-21 NBA season are likely to be pushed forward.

CIB executive director Andy Mallon said in an emailed statement that while the challenges created by the pandemic made changes to the construction schedule necessary, the entire project will proceed and be completed on schedule. Renovations on the arena, which opened in 1999 and cost $183 million to build, are scheduled to take place primarily during the next three summers and be complete by October 2022.

"The unprecedented circumstances resulting from the global coronavirus pandemic have resulted, as you’d expect, in supply chain issues and have forced us to modify the construction schedule of the first phase of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovation," Mallon said. "While this modification impacts which components of the first phase will be completed by Oct. 1, 2020, there are no reductions in the scope of the total renovation project or change to the final completion date."

The challenges come at a tricky time as the CIB and Pacers planned to have the first phase of renovations, which will focus on interior changes to suites and seating, in place for the NBA All-Star Game in February 2021. The 2019-20 NBA season has been on hold since March 11, and no date has been set for when play might resume.

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Bankers Life Fieldhouse will undergo $360 million in renovations.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment vice president of external relations and corporate communications Danny Lopez said the organization and CIB are working together to figure out which aspects of the first phase to complete this summer.

"Despite disruptions in global supply chains caused by this pandemic, we are working with our partners at the Capital Improvement Board to complete as much of the first phase as possible under our original 2020 construction timeline," Lopez said.

Renovations were announced in April 2019 when the CIB reached a 25-year agreement with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, which operates the arena for the CIB. The $360 million in improvements includes $270 million from state and CIB sources, $65 million from the Pacers and $25 million from the city, according to the team.

The second phase of renovations will include a new entry pavilion and exterior construction, along with other interior changes, and is scheduled to begin after the 2021 All-Star Game and continue through Dec. 31, 2021. The final phase from Jan. 1, 2022 through Oct. 1, 2022, will include completing the entry pavilion, the construction of an exterior plaza, which will feature an outdoor skating rink, and completion of the interior renovations.

The Indiana Fever will play home games at Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse through at least part of the 2022 season while Bankers Life Fieldhouse is closed during the summer months of 2020, 2021 and 2022.