- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Indiana University’s Assembly Hall is undergoing a renovation project set to cost tens of millions of dollars.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the basketball arena renovation was held Tuesday with IU officials and current and former Hoosier athletes, including IU men’s basketball coach Tom Crean.

“It’s gonna increase the life of this building,” Crean said. “That’s huge.”

The project is expected to finish by fall 2016 and includes a new south entryway, luxury suites, new bathrooms and infrastructural repairs. Work has already started around the arena’s south entrance.

Assembly Hall opened in 1971. IU President Michael McRobbie said he believes the arena will maintain its character after the project, but said it’s “sorely in need of renovation,” The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1FBDuSa ) reports.

IU will still play a full schedule at its home arena for the 2015-16 season, though IU athletic director Fred Glass said fans might see some inconveniences such as closed entrances.

“It’s really gonna be a work in progress through next season, so we’re going to ask our fans to have some patience,” Glass said. “There’s going to be some disruption, but it’s just gonna be the one season.”

Once the renovation is finished, the arena will be renamed Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in honor of a $40 million gift for the project from Indianapolis philanthropist and IU alumna Cindy Simon Skjodt. The project has been planned since 2013.

Glass said fans likely wouldn’t see much impact in the seating area from the project. He some parts of the renovation, including new escalators, could be done in time for next season.

“It’s actually a fairly tight timeline, so there will some things going on at the same time,” Glass said.

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