Indiana State University Newsroom

Virtual ribbon cutting marks official end of Hulman Center renovation

December 3, 2020

Indiana State University will release a ribbon-cutting video Thursday to mark the official reopening of Hulman Center after a two-year, $50-million renovation.

The video, available at 1 p.m. at, looks ahead while celebrating the arena’s past. Hulman Center opened in 1973 and is a multi-purpose facility for events including sports, graduations, and concerts.

The 10,200-seat facility has been host to countless ISU sports events, including the 1979 men’s basketball team that featured Larry Bird and finished second in the nation. 

Concert performers at Hulman Center have included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, KISS, Van Halen, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney.

The ribbon-cutting video features remarks by (in order of appearance) ISU President Deborah J. Curtis; lieutenant governor Suzanne Crouch; state senator Jon Ford; state representative Bob Heaton, a member of the 1979 ISU basketball team; state representative Tonya Pfaff; state representative Alan Morrison; Terre Haute mayor Duke Bennett; Tony George, former CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, whose grandfather, Tony Hulman, donated money for the original facility; and ISU trustee Kathy Cabello.

“As you drive or walk by the building, you immediately notice a beautiful new exterior that signals a new dawn for downtown Terre Haute and its special connection to Indiana State University,” Curtis said.

Said Heaton: “You will not find many universities cutting ribbons on multi-million-dollar projects these days. This is a big deal for Indiana State and the state of Indiana.”

The state appropriated $37.5 million for the project.

Hulman Center will have its first ISU event after the renovation when the Sycamores’ women’s basketball team faces Murray State on Friday, December 4.

Because of the pandemic, only essential personnel and family of ISU players will be allowed to watch in person. That policy is in effect for basketball games through December.

Members of the news media were given a brief tour of the facility Thursday.

The renovation includes:

--A new exterior facade and a glass entrance at the south end that adds square footage and event/meeting space. Light through the glass changes the feel of the building. Previously, the bowl was closed off. From the outside and upon entering, people will be able to glimpse the bowl and the building’s high-energy events.

--New restrooms and concession stands.

--New multi-purpose suite overlooking the floor.

--New lighting for the court area and improved acoustics.

 --All blue seats, replacing orange seats on part of the second level.

--New utility systems, which will make the facility more comfortable while replacing unreliable and inefficient equipment, much of which dated to 1973.

--A freight-sized elevator that will accommodate people with disabilities while vastly improving efficiency for freight and catering.

Because of the pandemic, no non-ISU events are scheduled for Hulman Center, although discussions are ongoing with clients who want to sponsor events after covid-19 restrictions are lifted, said Nancy Rogers, Vice President for University Engagement. 

Photo of Larry Bird statue with renovated Hulman Center in background

Photo with aerial view of Hulman Center

Photo of ribbon-cutters

Photo of former Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George with picture of original Hulman Center ribbon-cutting, which included his grandfather

Photo of state representative Bob Heaton near picture of a statue honoring his 1979 ISU basketball teammate Larry Bird, former Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George near a photo of the original Hulman Center ribbon-cutting, which included his grandfather, Tony Hulman.

Media contacts:

Mark Alesia, Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-3837

(C) 812-229-8020

Dianne Powell, Associate Director of University Communication

(O) 812-237-8764

(C) 812-878-2131