INDIANAPOLIS– One of Indiana’s most historic buildings is getting a new look. The former Pepsi Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds is on its way to becoming the newly remodeled Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Crews began hauling in more than 630 tons of steel for the inside of the building Tuesday. The coliseum was built in 1939 and the remodeling project will maintain the exterior shell of the building. Demolition on the inside began in the fall of 2012 and is now complete.
“It’s easy for young people not to understand the role that this building has played not only in Indianapolis history but in Indiana history,” said Andy Klotz, communications director for the Indiana State Fair. “This was it. This was the place where things happened, where big events happened.”
The renovation comes with a price tag of $63 million to update the facility, bring it up to new standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act and to make the venue more attractive to larger events with double-tiered seating and a new video and sound system.
Right next door and connected to the Fairgrounds Coliseum is another part of the complex, the New Arena. The New Arena is 60 percent complete and will also house an ice rink that can transform into an indoor track for animal shows. With the addition of the $10 million New Arena, the fairgrounds can host events simultaneously.
“That’s going to help us be able to do so many other things that we couldn’t do before,” Klotz said. “Previously when we had the boat show, the hockey team would have to schedule games away for three weeks and there would be no public skating for three weeks.”
The New Arena will be open by the State Fair this August. The Fairgrounds Coliseum will open in 2014, but the public will be able to take a tour of the progress at this year’s fair.