NO PIG RACES HERE: The new Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion, originally a fairgrounds swine barn, was designed to host indoor track and field events and will also book concerts and car shows. (Courtesy venue)
Former swine barn redesigned as $50 million indoor track and field facility with flexibility
The Indiana State Fairgrounds introduced the new Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion during its 2023 run, which wraps Sunday, Aug. 20.
The century-old swine barn and public safety center underwent an 18-month, $50 million renovation, according to Ray Allison, the fair’s chief development and strategy officer.
“We knew we needed to do something with that facility,” Allison said. “In 2023, you can’t really have a building for livestock only. We needed a multipurpose facility to host a variety of events throughout the year.”
The new pavilion is a 196,000-square-foot facility with 118,000 square feet of show floor, a 14,000-square-foot north lobby, 80,000 square feet of clear-span space in the center of the building, with 25-foot ceiling height and complete restoration of the historic 1923 north façade.
“The 14,000-square-foot entry lobby can be used for a variety of purposes, depending on who’s using the facility,” he said.
The Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion was designed to host indoor track and field events. A portable 200-meter, banked track will be installed annually to host local, regional, national and international events. The new building will host the 2025 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships.
“The opening of this world-class facility in Indianapolis is a significant milestone which underlines the immense commitment by the state of Indiana to the sport of track and field,” said Max Siegel, CEO, USA Track & Field, in a statement.
“The pavilion will not only serve as a field for numerous national and prestigious events but, during the winter months, will transform into a national-standard indoor track. Moreover, it will serve as a hub for camps of all levels, coaching education clinics, and a center for athletes training at all levels to nurture talent and promote excellence in track and field. This multi-use facility will be an active part of our community here in Indianapolis, where we are proud to be based.”
Concerts will be held there as well, said Allison and Anna Whechel, the Indiana State Fair Commission’s chief marketing and sales officer.
“The building is a flexible space,” she said. “We’ll have concerts and car shows. The Mecum Auctions is a long-term client of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. (The venue) will attract a wide variety of business, which will allow us to contribute to the economic base.”
To create the space, the Indiana State Fair staff, stakeholders and potential users brainstormed on amenities. The key was to “enhance the property and allow it to be useable for the next 100 years,” Whelchel said.
“It’s an important part of our history and the fabric of people’s lives,” she said. “The Indiana Farm Bureau has been a part of the fairgrounds for our whole history. To have them come on the journey with us and help us bring this building back to life is an incredible part of our story.”