Gainbridge Fieldhouse of the Future



Submitted by: Shiel Sexton Co.

Owner: Capital Improvement Board of Indianapolis

Lead Design Firm: Populous

General Contractor: Shiel Sexton Co.

Structural Engineer: Fink Roberts Petrie

Civil Engineer: Shrewsberry & Associates

MEP Engineer: Henderson Engineers

Home of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, Gainbridge Fieldhouse is an iconic arena in professional basketball and Indiana’s most widely used venue, hosting sports, concerts and special events year-round. With the aim of enhancing the fan experience, the three-year, three-phase modernization included construction of an all-season outdoor plaza that provides guests with more social and gathering spaces. Inside the seating bowl, every seat was replaced and the fieldhouse’s center-hung scoreboard was upgraded. The new scoreboard is significantly larger, and the state-of-the-art LED underbelly allows fans sitting in the lower bowl to catch replays and stats without straining.

Additionally, all suites were upgraded with contemporary furnishing arrangements and modern kitchenettes. The original Courtside Club also received a facelift and two new court-level sideline clubs were created. The Indiana Fever’s facilities underwent comprehensive changes, with a new locker room, weight room and training area. Formerly below grade, the Salesforce practice court was raised to street level for easier access. Bicentennial Unity Plaza on the fieldhouse’s exterior features public art, an ice-skating rink and outdoor concessions.

Gainbridge Fieldhouse of the Future

Photo courtesy of Megan Ratts Photography

Other improvements include a standing room only sky deck in the balcony; refreshed media room; team rooms; and improved employee offices.

The $360-million project was the second-largest arena renovation in NBA history. Phase 1 included the replacement of the original jumbotron with a massive LED screen, new premium areas and lower bowl seat replacement. The conclusion of Phase 2 delivered the standing room only area that permits more people to attend the games with a focus on social interaction.

Both the Capital Improvement Board of Indianapolis and Pacers Sports & Entertainment expected a high level of quality and craftsmanship. Trade partners committed to around-the-clock work to achieve the expected look.

Tony Eisenhut, Shiel Sexton general superintendent, personally installed pieces of the original Market Square Arena court on the wall of the Hardwood Club to ensure that the limited resource was treated with the utmost respect. The 67 Club offers a brick and urban aesthetic complete with mosaic tiling featuring imagery from the days of the Indiana Coliseum. The 67 Club’s antique-finished mirrors feature a quote from legendary Indiana Pacers coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard, presented in the style of Leonard’s own handwriting.

Gainbridge Fieldhouse of the Future

Photo courtesy of Megan Ratts Photography

The project was not immune from the effects of the pandemic. Work was halted in March 2020. Shiel Sexton and the owner took a two-week period to sanitize the facility and implement safety procedures. Additionally, the NBA had not yet announced their plan to continue the season, requiring adaptability and flexibility from construction crews. By April 2020, workers were required to respond to a health survey, have their temperature taken and wear a mask. Shiel Sexton also hired a furloughed dentist and dental hygienist to monitor the temperatures of all workers entering the site.

The project, which broke ground in June 2020, completed under budget and on schedule in November 2022.