Gainbridge Fieldhouse closes until fall to complete final phase of renovations
This is the final year of a three-year project that is expected to cost $360 million. The building is scheduled to reopen in October.
INDIANAPOLIS — Gainbridge Fieldhouse is officially closed for business.
The Indiana Fever game on Sunday was the final event and now Pacers Sports & Entertainment moves on to the final installment of upgrades. The building will be filled with construction workers rather than team employees and fans for the next five months.
This is the third straight offseason for the Pacers when significant upgrades will be made — part of a $360 million project. Indianapolis and the Capital Improvement Board are footing 82% of the bill; the Pacers are contributing $65 million.
In the meantime, the Fever will hold home games at Indiana Farmers Coliseum for the next nine games, then play their final four at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse from July 24 through Aug. 12. No, that’s not ideal.
Moreover, the Team Store has temporarily closed and the box office moves to PS&E’s business offices at the corner of Delaware and Maryland.
The building hosted 111 events since October compared to just 59 during the pandemic-impacted 2020.
Mel Raines, the president and chief operating officer, is overseeing the entire project — as she has done for the past two years.
(In case you haven’t been inside, here’s a look at the place following phase two.)
The focus for phase three is the top level of The Fieldhouse, which opened in Nov. 1999. That includes all new gray seats (like lower-level and club-level seats), concessions and restrooms. There will also be two grab-and-go stations, which are valuable in grabbing a beverage and/or snack and getting back to your seat quickly.
On the west side of the stands — the side opposite the team benches — seven rows will be removed to create a viewing deck. If you’ve been to a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium, think of the Bud Light Zone. It’s an open space for fans to hang out and watch the game. This space for more casual, social fans will on the west side to offer a great view of the downtown.
There are plans for two new bar areas, one at each end of the building overlooking the court.
A lot of little things will also be updated, like doorways, paint and what’s known as Pepsi Square. Special artwork will be installed. And there will be updates to the main three-bank elevators in the entry pavilion, which still has more work to be done like the addition of LED screens.
Before the Pacers’ season in September, PS&E reached agreement with Gainbridge to take over the naming rights of the building after the previous deal expired more than two years earlier. So permanent Gainbridge Fieldhouse signage will be installed on the exterior before next season as well.
Another big upgrade is coming to the outside. A parking garage was bulldozed and the Bicentennial Unity Plaza is fully under construction (as seen above). This will be a place for the community to gather and include a recreational space that will be a basketball court in the summer and an ice-skating rink in the winter.
The renovations are expected to be completed by early 2023 with the plaza set to be finished last, opening next spring. This could be a great area for more than just basketball. Imagine pre-game tailgating vibes, viewing parties for Colts games, March Madness and much more.
The next event scheduled for The Fieldhouse is a Carrie Underwood concert on Oct. 17. However, there will be Pacers preseason games before then.
For more on what’s being upgraded, here’s a preview from PS&E: