Monday, June 7, 2010
Does Cook Hall Delay Replacing Assembly Hall?
A funny thing happened to Indiana on its way to building a new Assembly Hall.
It built the new Cook Hall and now everything is all askew.
Suddenly a lot of the reasons why Assembly Hall is such a spectating disaster (were designers TRYING to kill elderly fans and torture balcony spectators with the arena’s brutally steep steps and painful views) became a lot less of a priority because $25 million Cook Hall has enough amenities (practice courts for the men’s and women’s teams, a state-of-the-art training room, a state-of-the-art weight room, and a Legacy Court that displays Indiana’s greatest basketball moments) to keep IU facility competitive.
In other words, athletic director Fred Glass can put off trying to raise the $150 million or so it would take to build a new basketball facility and concentrate on a more immediate facility need –- a new baseball stadium.
That’s a topic for another day. For now consider Glass’s enthusiasm for Cook Hall.
“The building is fabulous,” he said. “We think it’s the best of its kind in the country. It will be the WOW factor we need. It sends chills and brings tears to fans around the state. I hope it become a destination for people to visit.”
All that shelves plans to push for a new basketball arena.
“Cook Hall has the effect of extending the longevity of Assembly Hall,” Glass said. “That’s good news because Assembly Hall is a tough place to play for opponents.
“Having the latest technology and eye candy and whiz-bang effect of Cook Hall, combined with venerable Assembly Hall, is a 1-2 punch that will be good to us.”
“Good” comes with this perspective -– the Assembly Hall design was based on a North Carolina livestock pavilion. In other words, a barn. Why? Because officials wanted a large arena with most of the seats between the baselines and were, and we’re being diplomatic here, frugal with their money in terms of design.
Oh, there’s one other thing. The arena’s architecture plans were drawn in the early 1950s. The building wasn’t finished until the early 1970s. In other words, it was obsolete the first day it opened.
We’re just saying.