Indiana University of Pennsylvania will formally break ground for the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. along Wayne Avenue adjacent to campus.

The ceremony is open to the community. It will include Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell along with community and university dignitaries.

The $44 million facility is a 150,000-square-foot building that will offer a 4,000- to 6,000-seat arena, the 500-seat Christine Toretti auditorium, athletic department administration offices and conferencing facilities.

“The groundbreaking celebrates the longtime vision of many university, community and commonwealth leaders of a state-of-the-art convocation complex that this university and community need and deserve,” said Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president. “It also is a testament to the success of IUP's stewardship role in contributing to the economic revitalization of the Indiana region.”

The KCAC, to be completed in spring 2011, is projected to have a $22 million economic impact on the region during construction and an annual economic impact of $12.5 million in each year of operation.

While owned and managed by IUP, the KCAC is designed to serve as a cultural and economic development resource for the Indiana region.

The KCAC is named in honor of the Kovalchick family, of Indiana, who pledged a minimum of 10 percent of the Indiana Initiative, a $20 million campaign to raise funds for the facility's construction. This funding will match a 2003, $20 million commitment from former Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Ridge to support construction.

On Jan. 9, 2007, state Sen. Don White, President Atwater, Indiana County Commissioner Rodney Ruddock and the Pennsylvania Department of General Services announced the formal acquisition by the state of approximately 33 acres of property along Wayne Avenue to be home to the KCAC.

In May 2003, Governor Rendell traveled to Indiana to announce a $5 million commitment of state funding for property acquisition.

Commitments from the Indiana County Development Corp., Indiana Borough, White Township and the Indiana County Board of Commissioners, along with additional state funding and federal money, provided the matching funds for the property purchase.

The Horizon Team, a group representing Horizon Properties Group LLC and Summit Development Consulting Corp., was selected in July to build an adjoining hotel to the KCAC.

The hotel will be completed by March 2011 and will be owned by The Foundation for IUP, a nonprofit organization.