INDIANAPOLIS — The Park Tudor School provided tours of its new sports facility Tuesday, which replaces the north side school’s 50-year-old gym.
The Irsay Family Sports Center offers students more than just a simple gym. The $27 million facility includes multiple gyms, a fieldhouse, a café serving healthy foods and rooms for wellness classes.
“The traditional PE that we all had when we were in school, that’s gonna be and has been changing,” said Park Tudor’s Head of School Gareth Vaughan, “so the focus really is for health and wellness and for all kids not just the athletes and building lifelong habits that are going to make young people healthier and live longer.”
School leaders faced a decision with the old gym, on whether to keep it and continue repairing it as needed, or just replace it.
The old gym was demolished in March of 2020, and the new sports center built right on top of its location.
“We really took a leap of faith and it’s worked out very well for us,” said Vaughan.
The fieldhouse can be used by spring and summer sports teams during winter weather, and features removable batting cages, soccer nets and equipment for other sports.
The sports center also has room for renovations and improvements in case needs change in the years ahead.
“When you look at athletic and sports places they tend to be very functional, which is good and important, you want it to do what it needs to do,” said Vaughan. “But I think we also wanted this to be a space that really helped people feel community and so in many ways it looks more like a school college rec center where students will spend a large part of their lives, you know their days in here.”
Paying for the new facility took three years of fundraising.
The sports center was named in honor of the Irsay Family, since they donated a “lead gift” to help fund construction.
All three of Jim Irsay’s daughters were also Park Tudor students.
“It is really important to have the support of your alumni, your current parents, your past parents, grandparents, and everyone has been involved in this and it’s been incredibly successful,” Vaughan said. “I mean, something like this is a big undertaking and without that kind of very solid support it would not have been possible.”