BLOOMINGTON — The embarrassment that is Indiana's golf course is going away.
For this, Cream 'n Crimson fans can give thanks.
Specifically, the current course will be turned into a championship-caliber showcase that will rate among the Big Ten's best.
That is athletic director Fred Glass's promise. Now that the university's board of trustees has given its approval to the $12 million project, two generations of hope is set to become reality. The plan is to break ground in the fall and have the course ready by September of 2018.
“The golf course has been a conundrum for many years,” Glass said. “If we can solve that, which we expect to do, it will be a world-class championship golf course that will continue to be accessible to faculty, staff, students and the public. It will be a great piece to our athletic complex.”
Twenty years ago, then IU athletic director Clarence Doninger had set up a plan for a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course to be built without any cost to the university. But for a variety of reasons, some political, some involving environmental concerns, some just plain lack of foresight, then president Myles Brand shot it down.
So the Hoosiers continued to have a course that was no longer fit for Big Ten play.
That will change. One big push was the decision to build a new hospital and regional academic health center where the golf course driving range is now.
The golf project will include a new driving range and a new clubhouse that will feature a pro shop, locker rooms and a place to eat. The current nine-hole par-3 course will be eliminated.
Also, the board of trustees approved a new $17 million arena for wrestling and volleyball. It will be constructed next to Cook Hall. The 3,000-seat facility is set to be finished by September of 2018.
The 45,000-square foot arena will have a curved roof with the main entrance facing 17th street. It will have transparent outdoor panels much like Assembly Hall has. It will include volleyball and wrestling locker rooms, a visitors' locker room, and volleyball offices. It will be versatile enough to be used for other events (including basketball camps) and ceremonies, according to IU vice president Tom Morrison.
That's in addition to the Memorial Stadium south end zone project, which is set to be completed for the 2018 football season.
“That's on time and on budget,” Glass said.
All this adds to the buzz generated with the naming of Archie Miller as the new basketball coach, and the anticipation for football coach Tom Allen's debut season.
“I feel like the department has a lot of momentum,” Glass said. “It's exciting to have two first-year coaches starting in our highest-profile sports.
"People are excited about the dawn of the Miller era. They're excited about the dawn of the Allen era. I hear it."
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