Hinkle Fieldhouse is an important part of Butler University’s heritage and reputation.
However, the university could put $17.2 million to more productive use.
Butler’s Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse aimed to raise $16 million to preserve the building’s historic structure and improve its facilities for student-athletes and spectators.
Historical reservation is important.
Hinkle, affectionately known as Butler’s “Grand Old Barn,” has a rich history.
It was the largest basketball arena in the United States upon its completion in 1928, according to the Butler athletics Hinkle Fieldhouse webpage.
The building boasts a history of famous visitors, significant sporting events and, of course, the set of the movie Hoosiers.
It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1987.
Hinkle Fieldhouse has impacted Butler’s history, Indiana’s history and the United States’ history.
These are no minor feats and deserve due recognition and celebration.
Equally important, however, are Butler’s academics and current students.
U.S. News and World Report did not name Butler as the second best Midwestern college because of Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Athletics do raise Butler’s national prominence. However, Butler’s reputation as a quality university is a result of intelligent and hardworking students.
The Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse benefits some student-athletes, but it does not drastically improve any other student’s collegiate experience.
Hinkle already underwent a major renovation in 1989. The facility received a new training area and locker rooms, a VIP lounge, a new PA system and interior painting, according to Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse webpage.
This renovation cost $1.5 million at the time, which is roughly $2.7 million now after adjusting for inflation, according to a 1989 article in the Los Angeles Times.
This round of renovations will cost around $35 million, said Ken LaRose, associate athletic director of development, in an interview for “Campaign earns university more than $17 million,” on page two.
Thirty-five million dollars should vastly improve Hinkle’s facilities, considering this is nearly 13 times the cost of the last renovation.
The Bulldog Club, Butler’s annual athletic fund, will finance whatever cost donations cannot cover, according to LaRose. The Bulldog Club will have to finance about half of the expenses as of right now.
The athletic fund is meant to finance projects such as these.
The donations, however, could potentially be put to better use.
Butler should try to excite alumni about a campaign to improve Ross or Schwitzer Hall. The freshmen dormitories could always use improvement.
Air conditioning could be a great place to start rallying support for a fundraiser.
The campaign’s success had to do with the prestige and history of Hinkle Fieldhouse, but part of the success is due to the successful marketing and promotion of the campaign.
Butler should consider putting that much effort into asking for donations to improve other aspects of campus.
Athletics are an important part of college life.
Hinkle Fieldhouse is an undeniably significant part of this campus. The $17.2 million in donations will improve the facility, but this benefits a disproportionate amount of Butler students.
I hope the “Campaign to Improve Freshman Dorms” is coming next.