While the site is being cleared in anticipation of groundbreaking next spring for the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, IUP is exploring options for constructing a hotel at the Wayne Avenue location.
The full-service lodging facility would connect to the complex, which will include an arena, auditorium, state-of the art conference and convention space, and offices for athletics.
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The tree line in the foreground marks the traditional boundary of the Indiana campus. Running left to right, is Wayne Avenue, which intersects with Hospital Road below the Fairgrounds. By the time this photo was taken in August, the KCAC site, between the tree line and the avenue, had been substantially cleared. Eventually, Hospital Road will extend west (downward in the photo) through the KCAC site, and Pratt Drive (not shown) will extend southward to meet it. Photo: Ken Ciroli
According to President Tony Atwater, “There are several possible options on how best to proceed with this project in terms of building ownership.” He said he has directed Robert Davies, vice president of University Relations and executive director of the Foundation for IUP, to form a committee to recommend the best course of action.
A marketing feasibility study indicated the Kovalchick complex will draw sports fans, entertainment enthusiasts, and conference attendees in numbers far beyond what the Indiana area’s current inventory of 440 hotel rooms can accommodate. (Construction of a Hampton Inn facility, which will add more rooms, along Indian Springs Road was announced after the study was completed.)
“The development of a first-class hotel is critical and could be a major catalyst to spur our community’s future development,” State Senator Don White said. “A new hotel would be just the latest success story of the cooperative community efforts that resulted in the acquisition and development of the property for the KCAC.”
The purchase of land for the complex—the final design of which is due in December—was a joint venture that included Indiana Borough, White Township, Indiana County Development Corporation, and Indiana County Board of Commissioners. The groups matched a $5-million commitment from the state for the $10-million land purchase. The land is now owned by the state; IUP will own and manage the facility, expected to be a resource for the entire region.
Through the Indiana Initiative, the university is raising $20 million—matching a $20-million 2003 commitment made by the state—in order to build the $41-million facility. In addition to a minimum of $2 million pledged by the Kovalchick family and other gifts, federal funds have been received through the leadership of U.S. Congressman John Murtha.
Huge as it is, the Indiana Initiative is itself part of an even larger partnership that involves the Borough of Indiana, Downtown Indiana, Inc., Indiana County, and IUP. Called “Renaissance Indiana,” that partnership includes not only the KCAC and IUP’s Residential Revival but a host of community improvements. (Among the first to be undertaken will be construction of a new retaining wall along Water Street in the heart of Indiana and reconstruction of the Vinegar Hill steps.)
“As we move closer to groundbreaking for the KCAC in spring 2008,” President Atwater said, “the momentum and excitement for the project continue to build. The idea of a hotel connected to the facility only enhances our plans.”
A map showing the proposed site of the hotel, along with floor plans of the complex and additional KCAC information, is at www.iup.edu/kcac.