INDIANA, Pa.—Construction officially began Feb. 16 for Indiana University of Pennsylvania's $53.49 million Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

The KCAC, a 150,000-square-foot facility to be located along Wayne Avenue adjacent to the university, includes the 5,000-seat Ed Fry Arena, the 650-seat Christine Toretti auditorium, a conference center, grand lobby and commercial kitchen.

The KCAC is a Pennsylvania Department of General Services project. It is on schedule for completion in summer 2011.

“IUP is especially appreciative of the efforts of the Kovalchick Corporation and owner Joe Kovalchick for advancing the time schedule for the removal of the inventory on the property,” Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, said. The KCAC will be built on land formerly owned by the Kovalchick family.

IUP officially broke ground for the KCAC on Nov. 13, 2008.

In December 2008, Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary James P. Creedon and Atwater announced the awarding of the bid proposals for the construction of the facility.

Mascaro Construction Company, LP, of Pittsburgh, is the general contractor; Farfield Company, of Lititz, will provide the mechanical and electrical construction; and S.P. McCarl Inc., of Altoona, will install the plumbing. L. Robert Kimball, of Ebensburg, is the professional architect.

The KCAC 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.

The Horizon Team, a group representing Horizon Properties Group LLC and Summit Development Consulting Corp., was selected in July 2008 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. Officials project that the hotel will generate $211 million in economic impact for the region in the first decade of its operation.

IUP has secured more than half of its $38 million fundraising goal for the facility.

Major gifts include a $2 million donation from the Kovalchick family, for whom the facility is named, and a $1 million challenge gift from Chad Hurley, a 1999 IUP graduate, who made the gift in honor of Fry, his former track and field coach.

Hurley is one of the founders of YouTube, the video-sharing website developed and launched in late 2005.

“To date, through the hard work of our volunteers and from the gifts of individual, corporate and public sector supporters, we are nearly halfway to this new goal, and we are well positioned to complete this campaign,” Atwater said.