The State Fairgrounds Coliseum officially reopened Thursday after 17 months of reconstruction. Governor Mike Pence says the $63 million renovation will help ensure the building remains the jewel at the center of the State Fair for decades.
While the exterior of the Fairgrounds landmark remains largely unchanged, inside is a new LED video scoreboard, a video ribbon board that lines the seating arena, and more than 70 wall-mounted flat screen monitors. State Fairgrounds Executive Director Cindy Hoye says it was important to blend the old with the new, which is why the renovation reinstalled nearly one hundred original seats, recreated the original floor and left original walls and steel beams exposed.
Governor Pence says the Coliseum holds a special place in his heart – it’s where he and his wife had their first date.
“I think it grounds us in who we are as Hoosiers,” Pence said. “It reminds us of what we were capable of in the past and, as you’ll see today, it reminds us of what we’re capable of in the future.”
Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says she’s glad the renovation kept a focus on the building’s agricultural use.
“We are so grateful that the new design still has high, gently-curving walls around the arena floor for the benefit of the horse shows and the competitions and double entries and exits for the ease of moving animals in and out,” Ellspermann said.
No taxpayer dollars were used to fund the renovation. $10 million comes from fundraising, the other $53 million from bonds.