STAFF EDITORIAL: Maintaining Hinkle’s History as Renovations Roll On




Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse is trying to keep up with the Big East.  The fieldhouse is getting an updated modern look with a brand new scoreboard, updated seating and other additions.

Some of these physical changes could alter the way those within and beyond the Butler University community remember the facility and its rich history, which dates back to 1928.

We appreciate the athletic department’s and university’s efforts to keep Hinkle’s historic tradition alive. The more than $17 million raised during the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse could have caused that tradition to be swept away in a plethora of big changes.

“On one hand, the fan experience is going to be better, but, on the other hand, people are going to say, ‘Well, it is still Hinkle,’” Associate Athletic Director Ken LaRose said in “Fans will see modern Hinkle Fieldhouse”.

“It is still a cathedral of basketball, it still has got the tradition. It is just going to be a new and improved, updated Hinkle Fieldhouse without changing the traditional feel.”

With interior renovation underway, construction workers are disposing of pieces of the building that have been part of its history for many years.

Pieces of Hinkle that will be removed—such as some of the seating—have been part of world records, circuses and countless sporting events.

All-time greats have played inside the building, from former UCLA head coach John Wooden, to Oscar Robertson and his high school team Crispus Attucks. And, of course, there was Milan High School winning the boys’ basketball state title in the fieldhouse, inspiring the movie “Hoosiers.”

“It’s the basketball equivalent, or as close as you’re going to get, to walking into Wrigley (Field) or Fenway (Park). It feels authentic,” NBC sportscaster Bob Costas said on the Hinkle Campaign webpage. “You have a sense, even if you don’t know every specific of it, that some history happened here.”

Butler students like junior Thomas Petersen, a Dawg Pound member, said he recognizes this history and is worried the university could be simply throwing away parts of it.

Petersen even wanted to bring a piece of history back himself after seeing removed seats sitting in Dumpsters in front of Hinkle.

“My first thought was that I wanted to climb in and find a piece that was small enough to take back to my apartment,” Petersen said.

Jim McGrath, sports information director, said seats in the Dumpsters were put there because they contain lead paint.

Ultimately, Butler has decided to give some seats from Hinkle to the community. We believe this is beneficial for a few reasons.

For one, it allows Butler community members and other fans of the fieldhouse to capture a piece of history. More importantly, selling the seats would be an opportunity for the university to bring in additional money.

Rich Michal, executive director of operations, said Butler has paired with the organization People for Urban Progress to restore some of the disposed aluminum seating

PUP’s Hinkle project is similar to one completed in St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. The organization will use removed seats at bus stops and other local locations.

For all other materials being removed during renovation, Butler is trying to salvage as much as possible. The renovation is a Leadership Energy and Environmental Design project, in which Butler tracks the amount of waste it produces and tries to minimize it.

“The less that goes to the landfills the better,” Michal said. “We are trying to either salvage to reuse or recycle all the materials. We take that seriously to try and limit both from the sustainability stand point and a cost standpoint.”

We think it is great that Butler is not only keeping Hinkle’s history alive in the building itself, but also within the community.

We also appreciate how environmentally concious Butler is being during the renovation, and that the university is making strides to gain money from removed seats.

While Hinkle moves forward with technology, Butler’s efforts to maintain its past are worthwhile and important.


*All questions and concerns regarding staff editorials should be directed to EIC Colin Likas at