IU's Assembly Hall to be renamed, renovated

Cindy Simon Skjodt donated $40M for the project

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University officials announced Thursday that the Bloomington campus' Assembly Hall will be renovated and renamed.

The renovations to the 47-year-old arena will be complete as early as 2016.

Cindy Simon Skjodt, an IU graduate and the daughter of mall magnate Melvin Simon, made a $40 million donation to fund the project.

IU President Michael McRobbie said Simon Skjodt's donation is the largest gift in the history of IU athletics and the fourth-largest ever to the university.

In honor of the gift, the building's name will be changed to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Simon Skjodt talked about the memories of going to IU games with her father as a kid, and later as a student during a news conference Thursday.

"This is an honor and a dream come true for me to stand before you and this opportunity to transform the IU Assembly Hall," Simon Skjodt said.

IU basketball coach Tom Crean said the donation is transformational. He said the gift from Simon Skjodt means a beautiful and wonderful place will be expanded upon and preserved forever.

"What she just did and the Simon Skjodt family just did is preserve the legacy of a national treasure," Crean said.

Some improvements will include a Jumbotron and luxury seating.

School officials said the gift will kick-start their capital campaign to raise $150 million for athletics. Officials said the renovations will maintain the character and experience of the venue.

Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1

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