Weekly Features

From the Desk of the Chancellor

Natatorium project impact

July 15, 2014

For my 11 plus years as Chancellor, I’ve sought to improve the quality of campus life for all -- students, staff, faculty, and our community. We’ve seen the Campus Center create a home for studying, eating, meeting, hanging out, even sleeping. You are working and studying in new classrooms, laboratories, and offices. We’ve added over 1,400 beds for students to call home! 

While there have been numerous positive changes, there have been several stubborn lingering challenges. Three stand out.

One has been getting the campus leadership team out of a 40-year-old “temporary” building. With construction underway for University Hall at University Boulevard and New York Street, administrative offices will be provided along with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the School of Social Work. Number two is the presence of two four-lane highways through the campus -- New York and Michigan. They are confusing to visitors, risky to pedestrians and bike riders, and annoying to drivers. And they connect to West Street, which is a third freeway (with nine lanes at some points). Number three is the need to repair the most famous pool in the USA -- which just happens to serve IUPUI students, faculty, and staff -- as well as swimmers from Indy and the world. And Monday, July 14th, brought news of a project to transform challenges two and three!

Mayor Greg Ballard announced the city of Indianapolis would underwrite reconfiguration of Michigan and New York into two-way streets from the west side of the White River to West Street! The city will also connect West Street more effectively with Michigan and New York -- improving the usability of all three. The city will also improve the connection of Michigan and New York to the west side neighborhood supporting economic development in Haughville and Stringtown. 

With the support of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Indiana University and IUPUI, the Natatorium will be restored -- repairing the leaking roof, heating, ventilation, cooling, and infrastructure. This investment will be preserved by the support of the Indiana Sports Corporation so that it will serve the campus, community, and world into the foreseeable future. 

This complicated project could not have been completed by the campus, Indiana University, the city of Indianapolis, the Lilly Endowment, or the Sports Corporation alone. It is an amazing example of how partners can work out a better solution than individuals. 

The Natatorium is a symbol of Indianapolis’ commitment to changing the city’s economy. IUPUI is an even greater symbol of that commitment to improving the quality of life for our community and nation. My thanks to my colleagues on campus, in Indiana University, the city, the sports corporation, the Lilly Endowment, and our community, who have once again, supported this campus in making a difference. 

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