The IUPUI Natatorium is facing a sea of debt. The site of world swimming championships and Olympic team trials is in need of $18 million in repairs, but currently runs a $1 million yearly deficit.
Indiana University Trustee Bill Cast says IU just does not have the cash necessary to pay for upkeep of the facility by itself.
“Given the constraints on higher education and the investment in education itself and in graduation, providing funds for swimming that requires a large capital investment in a facility that has had a lot of corrosion and depreciation probably does not make a lot of sense,” he says.
Trustee Pat Shoulders says shrinking state funding for renovating and rehabilitating university buildings is partly to blame.
“In the last biennium, the legislature gave us exactly zero dollars for R&R for more than about $5 million in capital assets so the natatorium shared the same fate as science labs, classroom buildings, and all of our other athletic facilities in our efforts to simply find band-aid solutions during the tough budgetary times,” he says.
IUPUI officials have previously asked the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board, which oversees funding for many Circle City sporting venue, to kick in some cash. Shoulders says IU officials may ask the CIB for help this time, too.