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Mackey Complex Project

Mackey Celebration Week (Nov. 7-13, 2011)


Mackey Arena


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Mackey Complex
Leadership Steering Committee



• Eugene and June Parker (co-chairs)
• Drew and Brittany Brees (co-chairs)
• Beth Brooke (co-chair)
• Jim, Lois, John and Kathy Ackerman
• Ron and Kay Belin
• Michael and Katherine Birck
• Dick and Jeanne Groben
• Tim and Jane McGinley
• Bob Holloway and Becky Morris
• Richard, Alice and Kimra Schleicher
• Dennis J. Schwartz
• Dr. K. Donald and Carol Shelbourne
• Tom and Joy Spurgeon
• Bob and Sally Weist

Purdue University's Mackey Arena will undergo a construction project designed to complement it as not only a basketball venue, but also benefit each of the university's nearly 500 student-athletes.

On May 18, 2007, the university's board of trustees voted to award a contract to HNTB Architecture of Kansas City, Mo., for a project that extends from the outer edges of the arena north along Northwestern Avenue to Cherry Lane. With this authorization, HNTB will develop the architectural design and construction documents. The scope of the Mackey Arena Complex project is the most comprehensive and significant facility undertaking in the university's athletics history, said Morgan J. Burke, director of intercollegiate athletics. It will bring a 40-year-old campus landmark into the 21st century while preserving its rich history and tradition.

"Mackey Arena has served this university and its student-athletes, coaches and fans well for 40 years with virtually no renovation at this scale," Burke said. "We're mindful that a project of this magnitude is not inexpensive. By leveraging funding from our Big Ten television contracts and private benefactors, we can give to Purdue what Conseco Fieldhouse has given Indianapolis, a 21st century basketball arena that celebrates the heritage of our program."

Burke said the project affords Purdue some flexibility in using available space for its entire sports program. He said the greatest challenge for student-athletes is time management. Having athletic, academic and training facilities under one roof will give athletes a tool to better juggle their academic and athletic schedules, he said.

A three-level structure is planned north of Mackey and currently is being referred to as the Student-Athlete Development Center. Its highlights include:

* A sports medicine facility approximately three and a half to four times larger than the current area in Mackey.

* A strength and weight training facility approximately four times larger than the existing Intercollegiate Athletic Facility weight room.

* An oversized basketball practice facility with a full-size court and three breakout shooting areas.

The Mackey Arena Complex project will significantly enhance the overall fan experience at Purdue games. The concourse width will be approximately doubled, concessions will increase four times (from 12 to 48 points of sale) and restrooms will increase three times for women and by 35 percent for men. In addition, the lower seating sections on the east side will be modified to allow for some premium seats, with club seats (fixed padded stadium chairs) and loge seats (office-style chairs on casters) provided. A limited number of premium courtside seats will be available in the west pit area. Accessible seating will increase approximately six times. Two club spaces will be created, one for general fans on the west side and a premium club to the east.

Men's basketball coach Matt Painter said the renovated and expanded complex will be an improvement for fans and a tool for recruiting players.

"Mackey Arena is one of the top places in the country for basketball," Painter said. "One of the best aspects of this renovation is that the integrity of the arena will remain the same. This plan is integrating state-of-the-art facilities and still preserving the tradition of the past."

Women's coach Sharon Versyp, who guided the Boilermakers to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in her first year, said the project will have a long-term impact on student-athlete success.

"I'm thrilled about the proposed Mackey renovations," Versyp said. "It's exciting to know that we will have a state-of-the-art facility that retains the tradition of Mackey Arena. The changes will benefit the student-athletes, the fans, the coaches and the entire community. The improvements will assist us in attracting top-tier prospects, and the addition of the practice facility will allow us greater flexibility for prime practice time.

"We have some of the greatest fans in the country, and I know they will enjoy the improvements. The fans will benefit from wider concourses, greater access to restrooms and concessions and more comfortable seating. We want to maintain the reputation of being the toughest place to play in the Big Ten, while also making improvements to make every event an improved experience for the fans."

Other upgrades will include new locker rooms and lounges, meeting rooms, offices, laundry facilities and equipment storage. A new ticket office will be created in Mackey that is approximately twice the size of the existing one in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility. The current ticket office will be converted to a locker room for volleyball. The entire upper level of the IAF will be transformed into an academic center spanning approximately 10,000 square feet.

A landscaped corridor will extend between Ross-Ade Stadium and Mackey. Burke said the view of the brick athletic facilities along Northwestern Avenue will give the appearance of an athletics campus unto itself. In a larger sense, the kind of commitment Purdue is making to Mackey replicates the vision for Ross-Ade Stadium before its renovation in 2003, he said.

Plans call for a fundraising campaign to begin this year and conclude when construction documents are finished by the end of 2008. The construction is contingent on a successful fundraising plan. A year from now, football practice fields will be relocated to the area where the Grand Prix Track is located northeast of the stadium. The track will be moved to an area west of campus near the intersection of McCormick Road and Cherry Lane. Parking Lot F will be relocated to the site of the current outdoor practice field. Construction and premium seat sales will start in 2009. Construction will be completed by the start of the 2011-12 season. Mackey will remain the home court for Purdue's teams throughout the construction process.

"It was inevitable that this step would be taken at some point, and we think we're going about it in a fiscally prudent way," Burke said. "We think this will improve the opportunities for student-athletes to succeed first and foremost without coming at the expense of a taxpayer or an existing season-ticket holder."

Since it opened in 1967, Mackey, named for late Purdue athletics director Guy "Red" Mackey, has earned a reputation as one of the premium basketball arenas in the nation. The men's program tops all Big Ten schools with 21 conference championships, while the women's program has won seven regular-season titles and six postseason tournament crowns, all since 1991.

Since 1980, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State have built new arenas, while Illinois, Minnesota and Northwestern have renovated their facilities.